Thorn EMI

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Thorn EMI
Public
IndustryMusic, video, defence equipment
FateDemerged and subsequently broken up
FoundedMerger of Thorn Electrical Industries and The EMI Group, 1979
Defunct2007
Headquarters
London
,
England
Key people
Sir Richard Cave, Founding chairman
Sir John Reid, Founding chief executive
Parent Reeves Communications[ citation needed ]
Subsidiaries EMI

Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics, music, defence and retail. Created in October 1979 when Thorn Electrical Industries merged with EMI, it was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but it demerged back to separate companies in 1996.

Thorn Electrical Industries UK electrical engineering business

Thorn Electrical Industries Limited was an electrical engineering business. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange but it merged with EMI Group to form Thorn EMI in 1979. It demerged again in 1996 and became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but was acquired by Nomura Group just two years later.

EMI British music recording and publishing company

EMI Group Limited was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012, it was the fourth largest business group and record label conglomerate in the music industry, and was one of the big four record companies ; its labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records, and Capitol Records, which are now owned by other companies.

London Stock Exchange Stock exchange in the City of London

London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London, England. As of April 2018, London Stock Exchange had a market capitalization of US$4.59 trillion. It was founded in 1571, making it one of the oldest exchanges in the world. Its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. It is part of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

Contents

History

The Company was formed in October 1979 when Thorn Electrical Industries merged with EMI. [1]

In May 1984 the Company attempted to merge with British Aerospace and in July 1984 it bought the micro-chip manufacturer, INMOS. [2]

British Aerospace Aerospace and defense company

British Aerospace plc (BAe) was a British aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was at Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire. Formed in 1977, in 1999 it purchased Marconi Electronic Systems, the defence electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc, to form BAE Systems.

Thorn EMI acquired the Mullard Equipment Limited ('MEL') division of Philips in 1990. [3]

Philips Dutch multinational electronics company

Koninklijke Philips N.V. is a Dutch multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Amsterdam, one of the largest electronics companies in the world, currently focused in the area of healthcare and lighting. It was founded in Eindhoven in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik, with their first products being light bulbs. It was once one of the largest electronic conglomerates in the world and currently employs around 74,000 people across 100 countries. The company gained its royal honorary title in 1998 and dropped the "Electronics" in its name in 2013.

On 16 August 1996, Thorn EMI shareholders voted in favour of demerging Thorn from EMI again: the Company became EMI Group plc, and the electronics and rentals divisions were divested as Thorn plc. [4]

Operations

Thorn EMI's wide range of business covered five principal areas of activity; television broadcasting, retail/rentals, defence, music and consumer electronics.

Television broadcasting

Thorn EMI was, until a share flotation in 1984, the majority shareholder in the London-based ITV broadcaster Thames Television.

Initial public offering (IPO) or stock market launch is a type of public offering in which shares of a company are sold to institutional investors and usually also retail (individual) investors; an. IPO is underwritten by one or more investment banks, who also arrange for the shares to be listed on one or more stock exchanges. Through this process, colloquially known as floating, or going public, a privately held company is transformed into a public company. Initial public offerings can be used to raise new equity capital for companies, to monetize the investments of private shareholders such as company founders or private equity investors, and to enable easy trading of existing holdings or future capital raising by becoming publicly traded.

A shareholder is an individual or institution that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a public or private corporation. Shareholders may be referred to as members of a corporation. Legally, a person is not a shareholder in a corporation until their name and other details are entered in the corporation's register of shareholders or members.

ITV (TV network) TV network in the United Kingdom

ITV is a British free-to-air television network with its headquarters in London. It was launched in 1955 as Independent Television, under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority (ITA), to provide competition to BBC Television which had been established in 1932. ITV is the oldest commercial network in the UK. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, to distinguish it from the other analogue channels at the time, namely BBC 1, BBC 2 and Channel 4. In part, the number 3 was assigned because television sets would usually be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, with the other stations being allocated to the number within their name.

This shareholding was inherited from the 1967 purchase of the Associated British Picture Corporation by EMI. The deal included their interests in the ITV company ABC Weekend Television. Through an enforced merger with Rediffusion London, this became Thames Television.

In 1985 the company attempted to sell their stake to Carlton Communications but this was blocked by the governing body of ITV, the Independent Broadcasting Authority.

Retail and rental

Radio Rentals, DER (Domestic Electric Rentals Ltd) and Rumbelows (which was sold in 1995) Rent-A-Center.

Big Brown Box was launched in Australia in 2008 by Thorn and was later sold to Appliances Online, subsidiary of Winning Appliances in 2011. The site was an online retailer of AV equipment, consumer electronics and appliances.

Defence

From its formation until the mid-1990s Thorn EMI was one of the United Kingdom's largest defence companies.

The MEL Division, acquired from Philips, was involved in radar, electronic warfare and communications. The MEL communications business was sold to Thomson-CSF, now Thales.

In 1995 the various defence businesses were sold:

Music

The EMI label expanded greatly as part of Thorn EMI. In 1989 Thorn EMI bought a 50% interest in Chrysalis Records, buying the outstanding 50% in 1991. In one of its highest-profile and most expensive acquisitions, Thorn EMI took over Richard Branson's Virgin Records in 1992.

Computer software

In the early to mid-1980s, Thorn EMI Video Programmes released a number of games for several home computer formats, initially under their own name. They received a lukewarm reception with no major hits (though Snooker and Billiards did reach No. 6 in the UK Atari Charts). These included Computer War, Tank Commander, Snooker and Billiards, 8-Ball and Tournament Pool, Darts, Cribbage and Dominoes (1981) Gold Rush, Mutant Herd , Road Racer and Volcanic Planet (1983) and River Rescue (1982). The label was later renamed Creative Sparks.

In 1991, its consulting, systems integration, and outsourcing service division – Thorn EMI Software, was a subject of a management buyout [5] [6] and started to trade as a separate company named "Data Sciences Ltd". The staff and management paid £82 million for the £117 million turnover division. In 1996, IBM acquired Data Sciences plc for £95 million. [7]

From 1981 until about 1983, Thorn EMI Video Programmes was based in the Thorn EMI head office, Orion House on Upper St Martin's Lane, near Seven Dials in central London. They moved from there to an office in Soho and the name changed to just Thorn EMI Video. TEV later became Creative Sparks.

Fire and security systems

Thorn Security installed and serviced all types of electronic security systems from their bases around the UK, inheriting EMI's well-known AFA-Minerva lineage. The business was absorbed into ADT soon after the EMI demerger and all but a handful of the famous red 'Thorn' bellboxes were replaced, mostly by ADT's hexagonal bellboxes, which were inherited by ADT's prior takeover of Modern Alarms. However, the fire products are still present in many premises, and until recently spares and complete systems of Thorn heritage continued to be manufactured by ADT. Most of Thorn's bells and sounders were rebadged Friedland, Fulleon Cooper or Hosiden Besson products, with most of the bells made during the EMI era being based on the Friedland Master Bell (Big Bell for 8" models).

Business Communications

This division, based in Marlow provided hotels with televisions and related equipment. It also embarked upon a project called Hotel 3000 which provided interactive set-top boxes for hotel rooms in the late 1980s.

After Thorn's demerger, this division started operating as Quadriga [8]

Advanced Product Development Centre

This small subsidiary further developed existing products as well as introducing new ones. It was based in St.Lawrence House, Broad Street, Bristol.

Consumer electronics

Ferguson Radio Corporation was owned by Thorn EMI and it made consumer electronics such as TV sets, radios. TVs were designed and manufactured by Ferguson in the UK until around the early 1990s, although before this, some Thomson-designed models were introduced to the Fergsuon range of TVs for sale in the UK. Some of these Thomson-based models were even manufactured in the UK, although in later years these models were made outside the UK by Thomson.

By 1992, the Ferguson TV factory in Gosport had closed, ending a long period of manufacturing of Ferguson TVs in the UK.

VCRs were sourced until the early 1990s by a joint company called J2T, established by JVC, Thorn (Ferguson) and Telefunken. From around 1991, VCRs were sourced from Thomson alone.

One important aspect of Thorn EMI's business was its ability to manufacture, say, one of its Ferguson televisions and then to make it available for rental through its rentals sector or sell it through its retail sector.

Prism Micro Products was owned by Thorn EMI for a short period in the 1980s.

Domestic appliances

Kenwood Limited is now owned by DeLonghi.

Thorn EMI's film and video interests

The newly merged company continued the film interests EMI had acquired over the preceding decade; these had included the former Associated British Picture Corporation and their facilities at Elstree Studios, Shenley Road, Borehamwood.

Thorn EMI Video was established in 1981. Thorn EMI released films on video from various film companies including Orion Pictures ( First Blood , The Terminator ), New Line Cinema ( The Evil Dead , Xtro ), and Universal ( Bad Boys , Frances ) in the 1980s.

Thorn EMI joined HBO in November 1984 to create Thorn EMI/HBO Video. [9] In 1986, Cannon Films bought Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment (see EMI Films) and the film library, although Cannon sold the latter in 1987 [10] . HBO maintained an involvement the video company, which became HBO/Cannon Video. Cannon left operations and the company was eventually just called HBO Video in 1987 [11] [12] .

After demerger

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References

  1. EMI: a giant at war with itself Telegraph, 18 January 2008
  2. Reversing corporate diversification and the use of the proceeds from asset sales: The case of Thorn EMI Financial Management, Winter 2001
  3. Scout & Pilot Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Vote solid for Thorn demerger Independent, 17 August 1996
  5. "THORN EMI plc" (PDF). Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  6. "Data Sciences (Company Profile)". Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  7. "IBM to acquire Data Sciences". New Straits Times. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  8. Quadriga Company History Archived 4 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Billboard (1 December 1984, page 6)
  10. Cannon Sells British Library for $85 Million : 2,000-Title Film Collection Nets $40 Million Less Than Ailing Firm Had Forecast - latimes
  11. HBO said it is buying out HBO/Cannon Video.-latimes
  12. COMPANY NEWS; Cannon Will Sell Home Video Stake
  13. Nomura acquires Thorn of UK...
  14. Thorn