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Dub this: Elevation Partners buys Dubbing/Translation firm SDI

To date, Elevation Partners has been relatively slow in the deployment of their $1.9b private equity fund.   That may be changing.  Today, Elevation announced its second deal in as many months.

The media convergence focused private equity firm whose cofounders include Silicon Valley icon Roger McNamee and global icon,  U2 singer Bono, announced an agreement to buy the SDI Media Group from fellow private equity firm Warburg Pincus (which acquired SDI in 2004)

SDI, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest provider of subtitling and language dubbing services to the entertainment and media industries.  The company operates in more than twenty nine countries to provide what it calls “in-territory” dubbing services.  SDI employs a staff of more than 650.   An additional 4,000 freelancers help them translate and dub content in over 30 languages.

SDI’s client list reads like a who’s who of big media production companies.  Representative members include Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers, Sony,  Disney, BBC, Discovery Networks, and others.  For each client, the company is capable of handling all project implementation including script adaptation, voice casting, recording, sound mixing, and post-production services. In February, SDI’s services made it possible for Sony to release Open Season in Vietnam.

One of SDI’s most appealing aspects is its platform independence.  The company’s services are used from television, to films, to video games.  Most forms of content can be addressed and it makes no difference if the content is served online or off. They are distribution neutral.  With the volume of media content expanding exponentially day by day, that means SDI is well situated.

"SDI Media plays an important role in facilitating the delivery of content to a growing client base across the globe," Bret Pearlman, co-founder and managing director of Elevation Partners says in the press release

Over the past year, SDI has been expanding its capabilities by acquiring a number of regional competitors.  Since September 2006, they’ve acquired studio and dubbing companies in Denmark, Hong Kong and Mexico.  While terms of this deal with Elevation were not disclosed it’s probable that some of Elevations intellectual and cash capital may be used to further additional acquisition-based expansion.

The purchase is expected to close in four to six weeks.

[The official press release for the deal is available here in PDF format]

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