Deluxe’s Sfera Acquisition Results in New ‘Localization’ Division

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Oct. 31 announced it will acquire cloud-based localization platform and distributed services firm Sfera, including both Sfera Studios and Sfera Labs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Deluxe will first put Sfera’s platform and tools to work in areas of asset and workflow management, automated quality control, and real-time analytics for several services, including subtitling for more than 50 languages, closed captioning, subtitles and audio descriptions, watermarking, audio and metadata. The Sfera acquisition will be operated under a new division of the company, Deluxe Localization, which will be led by former Google head of global language services Derek McKellar.

“We created Deluxe Localization together with Sfera to make sure our clients have the kind of capacity, capability, and state-of-the-art technology that just wasn’t present in the industry, and is absolutely required to reach worldwide audiences,” said Deluxe CEO John Wallace. “The Sfera cloud platform lets us harness our global workforce and the data generated across our businesses to build more efficient operations capable of serving the growing appetite for content around the world.”

Deluxe’s acquisition comes at a time when the number of original scripted series in the U.S. has doubled in just a few years, with expanded needs by digital retailers. Deluxe plans on expanding its new division to serve as a major element of the company’s development of new, automated, technology-based processes and services.

“Sfera is a team of amazing individuals with a vision for developing industry-first technology,” said Sfera founder and CEO Morgan Fiumi. “Deluxe will enable us to accelerate our technology and bring efficiencies to our clients on a much broader scale. I am thrilled to become part of this iconic brand and join John [Wallace] and his team to launch and drive this innovation.”

Fiumi becomes Deluxe’s new chief innovation officer, a new role that has him overseeing product and development across all divisions of Deluxe. Sfera’s Los Angeles team will continue to work in Santa Monica, while its team in India will continue to work in Bangalore.

“Our clients have seen the demand for their content just explode worldwide,” said Ron Horwitz, Deluxe SVP of worldwide localization. “Combining Deluxe Localization with Sfera creates a solution for their need — it gives them more capacity, more security, and more skilled resources to localize content than they’ve ever had access to before. Having been part of building this organization from its early days, I’m excited to work with Derek, Morgan, and the Sfera team to drive it forward with this technology-based approach.”