Technicolor (Group)

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Technicolor SA

legal form Société anonyme
ISIN FR0010918292
founding February 27, 1893
Seat Issy-les-Moulineaux , France
management Frédéric Rose ( CEO )
Number of employees 17,745 (2018)
sales EUR 3,998 million (2018)
Branch Media services

Technicolor is a listed company based in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris and with American roots. It emerged from the former Thomson group, which is closely interwoven with the industrial history of France and in the past u. a. was active as a manufacturer of consumer electronics and household appliances and in military technology. The group has changed significantly due to various takeovers and spin-offs; Meanwhile, the electronics manufacturer has become a service company in the media sector (in post-production , media access devices, production and distribution of DVDs, etc.).

Today's company was transferred to the group in 2010 by the film technology company Technicolor , which was acquired in 2001 and which is best known for its process of the same name for the production of color cinema films.


Technicolor is now active in three business areas:

  • in audiovisual production and post-production, Technicolor is a leading service provider for content creation, including audiovisual effects and animation, and other video production services.
  • In the field of DVD services, Technicolor is a leader in the manufacture (including reproduction and packaging) and distribution of CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
  • In the Connected Home segment , Technicolor develops and manufactures solutions for access to digital video, data, voice and smart home services, consisting of broadband modems, digital set-top boxes and other devices for pay TV -Operators and network service providers.


The beginnings

The predecessor company Thomson-Houston Electric Company was founded in 1879 by Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston in the USA. In 1892 the company was merged with the Edison General Electric Company founded by Thomas Alva Edison to form General Electric . In 1893 the Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston (CFTH) was founded in Paris as a sister company of General Electric, which was active in France in the generation and transmission of electricity using the patents of the Thomson-Houston Electric Corporation.

In 1919 the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and in France the Compagnie générale de la télégraphie sans fil (CSF) were founded.

In 1922 Thomson acquired the Sainte-Foy-l'Argentière porcelain factory from the Fenoyl family, which had a patent on porcelain electrical insulators.

In 1928 Thomson-Houston merged with part of SACM to create a new company, Als-Thom (for ALSace-THOMson), a manufacturer of electromechanical components (now Alstom ).

1960s and 1970s

In 1966 the Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston merged with Hotchkiss-Brandt to form Thomson-Houston-Hotchkiss-Brandt . Shortly afterwards the company was renamed Thomson-Brandt ; this merger brought home appliances (under the Brandt brand) and the military activities of Hotschkiss to the Thomson Group - the goal was to create a French leader in household electrical appliances to withstand growing foreign competition, as well as sales opportunities for electronic components in the new armaments activities.

In 1968 the electronics business of Thomson-Brandt was merged with the Compagnie générale de la télégraphie sans fil to form Thomson-CSF ; Thomson-Brandt held a 40% share in this company. In 1969 the household appliance manufacturer Claret was acquired.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the Thomson Group was positioned in the areas of household appliances and electromechanical components on the one hand, entertainment electronics (with the production of televisions) and industrial and military electronic components on the other.

1980s and 1990s

In 1982 Thomson-Brandt and Thomson-CSF were nationalized by the French socialist government under François Mitterrand. In 1983 the two companies are merged under the name Thomson. However, the conglomerate, which manufactures lamps, televisions, home appliances, and military systems and employed more than 100,000 people, faced bankruptcy prior to its nationalization.

Thomson was an important semiconductor manufacturer until the 1980s ; the semiconductor division Thomson Semiconducteurs (France) merged with SGS Microelettronica (Italy) to form SGS-Thomson, now known as STMicroelectronics . Thomson-CSF, a company with products from the defense sector (radar, missiles, etc.) was merged in 1998 with Alcatel's armaments division , Dassault Électronique , with the French state still holding the majority stake in Thomson CSF. From 1998 to 2000, the French state reduced its shares. In June 2000 Thomson CSF took over the British company Racal , one of the largest English electronics groups. Finally, at the end of 2000, Thomson CSF renamed itself to Thales Group , and with the new name it sealed its independence from the former Thomson Group.

Thomson-Brandt expanded in the 1980s and 1990s at the same time, especially in the field of entertainment electronics, through countless new acquisitions of other well-known companies such as Telefunken , Nordmende , SABA and RCA ; the household appliances division with the brands Brandt, de Dietrich and Sauter was sold to the Italian competitor El.Fi in 1992 (and after several restructuring has been part of the Algerian Cevital conglomerate under the name Groupe Brandt since 2014 ). From 1999 the company was gradually privatized on the stock exchange as Thomson Multimedia under the Chirac government .


In 2001 Thomson took over the US company Technicolor, which had developed the Technicolor color film process at the time.

In 2004, the television production division of Thomson and a Chinese company called TCL merged into a joint venture TTE , which exclusively produces televisions and is the largest manufacturer of televisions in the world. TTE also develops and manufactures TVs from Schneider . However, other large, well-known manufacturers also purchase components for their televisions, for example picture tubes from TTE. The loss-making Schneider television plant in Germany closed in 2005.

In 2005 Thomson Europe bought the German set-top box market leader (DVB-S and DVB-T) and accessories specialist SM Electronic (SKYMASTER brand).

At the end of 2005 / beginning of 2006, the Thomson Group took over 90 percent of the shares in the Japanese company Canopus , which manufactures hardware and software for video editing. In the third quarter of 2006, the Thomson Group announced that it was withdrawing from the consumer electronics business. Thomson AVA (based in Boulogne near Paris) and SM Electronic (based in Stapelfeld / Braak near Hamburg) were to be taken over by the Swiss Oristano Group on January 1, 2007 . There was no notification of completion of the takeover at the beginning of 2007. The customers of Thomson AVA and Skymaster were informed that the sale could not be completed and that they were still looking for an investor. According to industry rumors, a buyer should be found by the end of June 2007 and the sale reported in July. In the running were a group of investors and a strategic investor from consumer electronics. A spin-off or separate sale of SM Electronic (Skymaster) was not ruled out either.

In October 2007 Thomson announced the discontinuation of the entertainment electronics division AVA (audio / video / accessories) at the end of 2007. While a buyer could be found for the business in the USA, it did not initially succeed in Europe. In January 2008, the German Thomson subsidiary SM Electronic (SKYMASTER) was taken over by Gigaset .

On January 1, 2011, the Grass Valley subsidiary was sold to the financial investor Francisco Partners.

Renamed Technicolor

On January 26, 2010, Thomson changed its name to Technicolor after the company was able to reschedule its debt after a deep crisis. Thomson originally bought Technicolor in 2001 and now operates under its name. The Thomson brand for consumer electronics continues to be licensed to other manufacturers.

Historic brands of the group

In particular, the Group's own brands Thomson, RCA, Grass Valley and Speedtouch can be found on the market today. The Thomson and RCA brands for consumer electronics are licensed to various third-party manufacturers, as the Technicolor company itself has completely withdrawn from the consumer electronics market. The brands Thomson and RCA are licensed exclusively to the Chinese group TCL especially for televisions . The market is divided between the two brands: while the televisions in Europe are sold under the Thomson brand, the RCA brand is only represented on the North American market. In Asia, TCL sells its products under its own brand, but also under the Rowa brand name.

The well-known SABA brand, which also became part of the group through takeovers, was held by Thomson multimedia Sales Germany GmbH until November 26, 2015 , but was deleted on June 24, 2016.

In April 2017, TechniSat acquired the license to use the Nordmende brand for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland from the brand owner Technicolor SA. The first Nordmende devices from the TV and DAB + digital radio segments were presented at IFA 2017.

The Telefunken brand, which was also taken over, is now owned by Telefunken Licenses GmbH, which itself issues licenses to use the name.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Technicolor: Annual Report 2018 , accessed on June 27, 2019 (English, PDF)
  2. Sale of Grass Valley to Francisco Partners is Final! - Press release of January 3, 2011 ( Memento of the original of September 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. a b Technicolor's Other Brands ( Memento of the original from August 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Trademark Management
  5. RCA Trademark Management
  6. General
  7. ^ SABA trademark register
  8. Nordmende brand with digital and internet radios back ,, article from September 2, 2017.

Coordinates: 48 ° 49 ′ 52.3 "  N , 2 ° 16 ′ 46.6"  E