Bowers & Wilkins, one of the most renowned companies in the field of speaker systems, custom installation, headphones and car entertainment solutions for years, is now acquired by Sound United LLC.
It was a news story that caused quite a stir when Sound United LLC. announced in June 2020 that it wanted to acquire Bowers & Wilkins. According to Sound United LLC, a preliminary agreement had been signed. In mid-June of this year, Bowers & Wilkins was reluctant to make a commitment at that time and only confirmed initial discussions on merger concepts. It is now clear that there is no question of a merger, as Sound United LLC. confirms that it will acquire Bowers & Wilkins.
This is exciting because Sound United LLC. comprises not only the brands Denon and Marantz, but also Classé and HEOS, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and, not forgetting Boston Acoustics, more or less important brands in the field of loudspeaker systems depending on the market. Clearly, Bowers & Wilkins is one of the most prestigious brands in the global market.
Bowers & Wilkins was founded in the UK in 1966 and has been a renowned loudspeaker specialist in both the premium and high-end segments for years. Its product portfolio includes exclusive high-end stereo speaker systems as well as high-quality surround solutions for home cinema. In addition, products in the so-called personal audio segment, i.e. headphones in particular, have been on the market for many years, whereby the English have also succeeded in quickly establishing an impeccable reputation in the premium segment. Similarly, the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series of compact all-in-one audio systems has recently been introduced to the multi-room audio streaming market. Bowers & Wilkins’ involvement in the car entertainment systems segment is not to be underestimated, as here too, the company literally ‘plays’ in high-end vehicles.
“With the acquisition of Bowers & Wilkins, we combine Bowers & Wilkins’ industry-leading audio design, engineering and craftsmanship with the technical sophistication, high standards and broad user base of Sound United. This ensures that Bowers & Wilkins continues to grow successfully. Sound United has a strong track record of protecting the identities and core competencies of each of its brands. With Bowers & Wilkins we take the same approach. We believe that the entire Sound United portfolio will benefit from the addition of Bowers & Wilkins, which will result in innovative products and technologies for our customers, distributors, dealers and audio enthusiasts around the world.Kevin Duffy, CEO of Sound United LLC
The acquisition now confirmed includes all worldwide distribution and licensing agreements with third parties under which Bowers & Wilkins premium audio products are currently sold, Sound United LLC. said in a broadcast. Investment in additional brands will enable Sound United LLC. to pursue even more innovative approaches across product categories, feature sets, technology partnerships and consumer segments in the future, the Group predicts. As part of the acquisition, Sound United LLC. will seek to support the development of new Bowers & Wilkins products to strengthen its position in the premium home audio systems market.
However, the actual impact of this in practice is of course completely open, particularly in those areas where the product portfolios of the existing Sound United LLC. and Bowers & Wilkins brands overlap significantly, such as the thriving multi-room audio streaming systems market segment, where, as mentioned above, the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series is now available alongside the HEOS platform. For loudspeaker systems, on the other hand, as with Marantz, Denon and Classé, they will probably adopt different marketing strategies, especially as Bowers & Wilkins is targeting completely different customers than Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and Boston Acoustics.
It is clear, however, that Geoff Edwards, previously CEO of Bowers & Wilkins, will be the future president of Bowers & Wilkins at Sound United LLC. Sound United LLC. is convinced that this will preserve the continuity of the brand.
Getting to the point
The deal now confirmed includes all worldwide distribution and licensing agreements with third parties under which Bowers & Wilkins’ premium audio products are currently sold, Sound United LLC. said in a press release. Investment in additional brands will allow Sound United LLC. to take an even more innovative approach to different product categories, feature sets, technology partnerships and consumer segments in the future, the Group predicts. As part of the acquisition, Sound United LLC. will seek to support the development of new Bowers & Wilkins products to strengthen its position in the premium home audio systems market.
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