Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cresswell Arrives At Arqiva

Interesting to see John Cresswell, the executive who I credit with beginning the turnaround at ITV, has taken the helm at Arqiva.

Arqiva is the former transmission business for UK analogue broadcasting which has evolved into a diverse TV technology company with services such as Seesaw (built on the assets of Project Kangaroo) and a stake in YouView.

The company has made a bold move from being a business to business provider to being a consumer IP over TV provider with a big stake bet. But is a private equity backed company which is likely to require significant further investment if it is to see through its consumer strategy. There is also a danger that it will begin to compete with some of its key business customers.

There's little doubt that the UK has the scope to support a world class, large scale public television technology company, but it does worry me that most of our leading technology companies, like our production companies, have heavily leveraged balance sheets.

Cresswell did a good job of shoring up the ITV balance sheet without selling out on the family jewels at a critical time for that company.

This is going to be a company to carefully watch.