Charlotte, NC, June 28, 2021 – Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE American: BTN) (the “Company” or “Ballantyne Strong”) announced that portfolio company Firefly Systems Inc. (“Firefly”) has acquired Curb Taxi Media, the largest and most established mobility media company in the U.S. Acquisition terms were not disclosed. Ballantyne Strong holds a $13 million preferred investment in Firefly, which is privately held.
Based on an announcement distributed by Firefly, the acquisition will provide Firefly with access to over ten thousand top-of-car screens to significantly scale Firefly’s disruptive technology and network. The acquisition will establish a leadership position in the U.S. for Firefly through a presence in 11 cities, including the major media markets of New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami. As cities reopen and out-of-home advertising returns, the Company believes that the synergy between Curb Taxi Media and Firefly will enable advertisers to capitalize on new growth opportunities through an expanded portfolio of mobility solutions available under the same umbrella and reach new markets through best-in-class taxi media solutions.
Mark Roberson, Chief Executive Officer of Ballantyne Strong, commented, “As we move beyond the pandemic and cities begin to return to normal business and tourism activities, there is strong demand for taxi and ridesharing services. This strategic acquisition gives our portfolio company, Firefly, the opportunity to accelerate the deployment of its screens in major cities across the U.S., and we believe this represents a significant growth opportunity for the business. This is an exciting strategic development that firmly secures Firefly as the premier provider of digital out-of-home mobile advertising solutions.”
Kyle Cerminara, Chairman of Ballantyne Strong, commented, “Firefly is a proven leader in mobile advertising with a disruptive technology and network, and we are confident that this transaction will strengthen the value of our strategic investment in their business. The access to Curb Taxi Media’s network of more than ten thousand screens across major metropolitan areas enables Firefly to exponentially scale its operations in the near term, and we look forward to their continued progress and success.”
Firefly is a street-level digital media network that connects audiences with dynamic media on taxis and rideshare vehicles. The company works with taxi companies and rideshare drivers to install its proprietary advertising displays atop their vehicles. These proprietary screens deliver dynamic content based on location and Wi-Fi-enabled triggers. Firefly provides an additional revenue stream to maximize drive time and empowers brands to efficiently engage consumers across our nation’s busiest cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Miami.
About Ballantyne Strong, Inc.
Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (https://ballantynestrong.com/) is a diversified holding company with operations and investments across a broad range of industries. The Company’s Strong Entertainment segment includes the largest premium screen supplier in the U.S. and provides technical support services and other related products and services to the cinema exhibition industry, theme parks, and other entertainment-related markets. Ballantyne Strong holds a $13 million preferred investment, along with Google Ventures, in privately-held Firefly Systems, Inc., which is rolling out a digital mobile advertising network on rideshare and taxi fleets. Finally, the Company holds a 30% ownership position in GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. (TSX: GFP), which has recently completed an investment in a sawmill and related assets, and a 21% ownership position in FG Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: FGF), a reinsurance and investment management holding company focused on opportunistic collateralized and loss capped reinsurance, while allocating capital to SPAC and SPAC sponsor-related businesses.
In addition to the historical information included herein, this press release includes forward-looking statements, such as management’s expectations regarding future sales, the impact, length and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adequacy of the actions taken in response to the pandemic, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those discussed in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 10, 2021, as supplemented by the Company’s Amendment No. 1 on Form 10-K/A filed with the SEC on April 28, 2021, the Company’s subsequent filings with the SEC, and the following risks and uncertainties: the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has already had, and may continue to have, on the Company’s business and financial condition; the Company’s ability to maintain and expand its revenue streams to compensate for the lower demand for the Company’s digital cinema products and installation services; potential interruptions of supplier relationships or higher prices charged by suppliers; the Company’s ability to successfully compete and introduce enhancements and new features that achieve market acceptance and that keep pace with technological developments; the Company’s ability to successfully execute its capital allocation strategy or achieve the returns it expects from these investments; the Company’s ability to maintain its brand and reputation and retain or replace its significant customers; challenges associated with the Company’s long sales cycles; the impact of a challenging global economic environment or a downturn in the markets (such as the current economic disruption and market volatility generated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic); economic and political risks of selling products in foreign countries (including tariffs); risks of non-compliance with U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, potential sales tax collections and claims for uncollected amounts; cybersecurity risks and risks of damage and interruptions of information technology systems; the Company’s ability to retain key members of management and successfully integrate new executives; the Company’s ability to complete acquisitions, strategic investments, entry into new lines of business, divestitures, mergers or other transactions on acceptable terms, or at all; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the companies in which the Company holds investments; the Company’s ability to utilize or assert its intellectual property rights, the impact of natural disasters and other catastrophic events (such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic); the adequacy of insurance; the impact of having a controlling stockholder and vulnerability to fluctuation in the Company’s stock price. Given the risks and uncertainties, readers should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement and should recognize that the statements are predictions of future results which may not occur as anticipated. Many of the risks listed above have been, and may further be, exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the cinema and entertainment industry, and the worsening economic environment. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements and from historical results, due to the risks and uncertainties described herein, as well as others not now anticipated. New risk factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such risk factors, nor can it assess the impact of all such factors on the Company’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Except where required by law, the Company assumes no obligation to update, withdraw or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in factors or assumptions affecting such forward-looking statements.
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