The world of photography equipment and photography accessories became smaller on September 25, 2017 when Vitec Group announced its acquisition of JOBY and Lowepro from DayMen Group in a press release on its website.
Vitec Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of camera and photography accessories. Vitec Group’s “activities comprise: design, manufacture , and distribution of high-performance products and software including camera supports, wireless systems, robotic camera systems, prompters, LED lights, mobile power, monitors and bags” and it employs approximately 1,700 people across the world between two corporate divisions, Broadcast and Photographic.
The purchase was finalized on September 22, 2017 when Vitec assumed control over “certain assets and liabilities, primarily comprising the JOBY and Lowepro brands, from the DayMen Group S.a.r.l. (“DayMen”), for a cash consideration of $10.3 million (£7.6 million).”
This move solidifies Vitec’s position as a leading provider in the global market for image capture and sharing equipment and accessories.
Other brands under the Vitec corporate umbrella include Manfrotto, Gitzo, Colorama, Lastolite By Manfrotto and Avenger.
DayMen Group was founded in 1981 and enjoys an excellent history in the photography and camera accessories industry as, “a innovative designer, marketer and distributor of high quality imaging accessories” with over 100 staff members anchored in San Francisco.
Legendary brand Lowepro, founded by outdoorsman and photography enthusiast Greg Lowe, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year (2017).
More recently founded, the creator of the GorillaPod, JOBY, enjoys no less of a stellar reputation within the photography and camera accessories industry.
The maker of the tripod for smartphones, particularly iPhones, was founded in 2006 and was acquired by DayMen Group in 2011. JOBY’s products are widely used by consumers in the iPhoneography and vlogging accessories market.
JOBY’s strengths in the camera accessories market will be further emphasized under Vitec’s stewardship, with a particular emphasis on developing new, high-quality and innovative products under that brand name.
Potential synergies with Vitec’s Manfrotto were discussed with regard to Lowepro, particularly in terms of “an opportunity to improve margins through cost reductions and integration with Manfrotto, along with the potential for additional benefits as its markets improve” according to Vitec’s press release.
Vitec Group’s move is not unexpected as analysts have pointed out the potential for synergies between Vitec’s existing brands and JOBY and Lowepro. On its website, Vitec describes its target markets as “…broadcasters, independent content creators, photographers and enterprises.” In addition, Vitec “design[s], manufacture[s] and distribute[s] high performance products and software, including camera supports, wireless systems, robotic camera systems, prompters, LED lights, mobile power, monitors and bags” across the world, giving JOBY and Lowepro access to massive new markets.
Vitec’s strategic considerations with the acquisition of photography and camera accessories manufacturers JOBY and Lowepro was described broadly by Vitec executives in terms of the strategic fit within the larger corporate family.
Marco Pezzana, Photographic Divisional Chief Executive, will spearhead Vitec’s efforts to integrate Hong Kong-based JOBY and California-based Lowepro into Vitec’s overall corporate ecosystem.
Developing partnerships and cooperation between California, Hong Kong, and JOBY’s China-based supply will be a central focus of Pezzana’s management.
Ephotozine quotes Pezzana as saying “We are proud to announce that two remarkable brands within the Photographic Accessories market, JOBY and Lowepro, will join the Vitec Photographic Division…We believe that our extensive knowledge of the photographic market will enable us to add a wealth of value to these already leading brands. JOBY and Lowepro’s product development expertise coupled with our established global distribution network, engineering and manufacturing capabilities, gives an exciting opportunity for both the Vitec Group and our global partners.”
This move by Vitec in the fast-growing, quickly-changing iPhoneography and vlogging accessories markets puts the camera and photography accessories manufacturer in the unique position of harnessing the innovative success of JOBY, particularly JOBY’s penetration into Apple stores and the iPhone camera and photography accessories market, and Lowepro’s decades-long experience in making industry-leading camera and electronics equipment bags and accessories.
In particular, Vitec hopes to expand iPhoneography and vlogging accessories markets through JOBY’s popular GorillaPod. The strength of JOBY’s products within Apple’s retail stores and online on Amazon were particularly attractive points of strategic interest for Vitec according to its press release.