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Scala, Inc., the Malvern-based company that's been a global leader in the digital signage industry, has agreed to sell a controlling majority interest in itself to Dayton, Ohio-based Stratacache, it was announced Monday. Terms were not disclosed.
The website Sixteen-Nine.com, which covers the digital signage industry, noted that "the deal is not all that big a surprise, as Scala has been known to be on the market, for the right price, for the last few years. The executive house-cleaning that saw CEO Tom Nix and several other execs leave in June was a bit of a signal that things weren’t going all that swimmingly for the company."
While Scala had long been the gold standard in the industry, it had suffered in recent years from its attachment to a proprietary architecture in a market that was increasingly moving to open source, among other factors. But Scala's value to Stratacache is in its unmatched global partner network.
"Combining the largest U.S. digital signage company with the largest international digital signage company will provide significant operational synergies and allow both firms to deliver enhanced solutions and services to customers across the globe. Stratacache’s strong balance sheet and large-scale operations will enhance Scala’s competitive edge – and Scala’s global channels and significant reseller and partner network will fuel Stratacache’s growing business outside of the United States," Stratacache’s release announcing the deal stated.
Scala was founded in 1987 by a Norwegian entrepreneur, and as I understand it landed in West Chester to be close to Commodore International, as its initial platform was based on the Amiga. However, Commodore soon thereafter folded and Scala eventually switched to Windows, but remained in West Chester until moving to Malvern in recent years.
But Scala continued under largely European ownership and board oversight.
While Scala was never a huge local employer (59 according to the latest count on LinkedIn), its force multiplier was its large international partner network. And I'm sure that if that network wasn't getting the product or support it needed, those issues found their way back to the board.
Stratacache has 270 employees, presumably not including those joining from Scala, according to the Dayton Business Journal.