The first reports that Sound United LLC. might take over the traditional loudspeaker specialist Bowers & Wilkins already surfaced in the spring of last year. In June 2020, it became official: Sound United LLC. announced its intention to take over Bowers & Wilkins, which ultimately took place in October 2020 – sempre-audio.at reported.
In the spring as well as during the final takeover in the autumn, the management of Sound United LLC. always spoke about the fact that they were aiming for an expanded product portfolio.
“We are confident that the entire Sound United portfolio will benefit from the addition of Bowers & Wilkins, which will translate into innovative products and technologies for our customers, distributors, dealers as well as audio enthusiasts around the world.”Kevin Duffy, CEO of Sound United LLC.
Surprisingly, what was left out completely at the time was the automotive sector, a market segment in which Bowers & Wilkins has been extremely successful for years, but in which Sound United LLC. hardly plays a significant role, despite the group’s various well-known brands such as Denon, Marantz, Classé, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and Boston Acoustics.
In this context, it must be mentioned that the automotive sector is an extremely exciting, highly competitive, but also very lucrative market. Many a spectacular takeover of companies with a long tradition took place partly or in large part with this market in mind.
How could it be that Bowers & Wilkins’ position in the automotive sector also played a significant role in the takeover of the company by Sound United LLC, as is now evident.
Sound United LLC. now announces that it is well equipped in the automotive sector thanks to the strength of Bowers & Wilkins. Specifically, the company announced that it intends to leverage Bowers & Wilkins’ deep expertise in this area to expand its development in the growing automotive segment.
The acquisition of Bowers & Wilkins brought with it considerable automotive expertise and experience gained over several years and dozens of highly regarded, successful collaborations with leading manufacturers. These include partnerships with BMW, McLaren and Volvo, some of which have been with Bowers & Wilkins for decades. Sound United LLC. is confident that the company’s deep-rooted performance audio expertise will be incorporated into a range of premium automotive sound solutions that emphasise sound performance and heritage in high-fidelity audio.
However, with Sound United LLC.’s brand-based architecture, each company within the Sound United portfolio, including Polk Audio, Denon, Marantz, Definitive Technology, Classé and, of course, Bowers & Wilkins, will be treated independently. This is to ensure that their respective brand identities are maintained, especially when working with corporations in the automotive sector.
“The car is a very private and controllable space, making it an ideal opportunity to deliver fantastic audio experiences. In our opinion, the car can be a uniquely private and premium environment that often goes further than many higher-end lounge spaces when it comes to how people can customise and engage with their entertainment. Together, the new and stronger Sound United portfolio offers existing and new automotive partners tailored access to the capabilities of our individual brands, as well as new, greatly expanded group resources.”Dave Sheen, SVP of Licensing and Partnerships at Sound United LLC.
Excitingly, however, Sound United LLC. does not want to see the Bowers & Wilkins brand alone in vehicles in the future. It explicitly states that a range of Sound United audio solutions will be seen and heard in vehicles in leading car brands in the near future, alongside Bowers & Wilkins’ already successful systems.
“We have a deep wealth of knowledge in the form of an existing team with years of experience in delivering top partnerships with major automotive companies. Now, with the support of Sound United, which sees partnerships as a central pillar for future success, we have more resources, support and expertise than ever before. Each of Sound United’s respected brands is ready for the potential to work together in the automotive space, many for the first time.”Dave Sheen, SVP of Licensing and Partnerships at Sound United LLC.
Getting to the point
It can therefore be assumed that Sound United LLC. will carry out a kind of targeted brand management, using the different brands in different car brands, adapted to the respective image. A clear division into entry-level, mid-range and premium segments would therefore be the logical conclusion.