Sound United negotiate Bowers & Wilkins acquisition

Securing a sound future?

by Andy Bassett

Bowers & Wilkins and Sound United have begun early talks to explore a mutually beneficial arrangement.

UPDATED: 13th June 2020

Further to the news that broke last night regarding negotiations between high performance audio brand Bowers & Wilkins and Sound United, whose portfolio of respected names includes some of the most famous in the world of audio, Bowers and Wilkins have issued a statement clarifying the circumstances around the talks, which it stresses are at an early stage.

Far from an indication of any fallout from the structural changes that took place back in February, Bowers & Wilkins CEO Geoff Edwards is keen to elaborate that the discussions are a means to explore a beneficial relationship between the two entities. Thus, customers would continue to benefit from Bowers & Wilkins engineering prowess backed up by the resources Sound United could provide.

At this stage there has been no decision to move forward with a deal but, in that eventuality, existing product portfolios and distribution arrangements would remain as they are.

Bowers & Wilkins press statement is quoted below:


Worthing June13th 2020: Bowers & Wilkins, one of the most widely respected names in premium performance audio, has begun early stage talks with Sound United LLC, parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, HEOS, Classé and Boston Acoustics to explore opportunities for the two businesses to combine.

Discussions between Bowers & Wilkins and Sound United are at an early stage with a view to consolidating our premium brands into a new group offering even better consumer opportunities.
If our discussions are successful, combining Bowers & Wilkins’ engineering and manufacturing expertise in the premium category with the breadth of resources and capability of Sound United could certainly be a transformative step for both brands. It would allow the Bowers & Wilkins team even greater opportunities to focus on what we do best – building the industry’s finest loudspeakers,
” said Geoff Edwards, CEO of Bowers & Wilkins.

Should the two brands decide to move forward, Sound United would acquire all worldwide third-party distribution and licensing agreements under which Bowers & Wilkins premium audio products are currently sold. This does not affect any of the existing Bowers & Wilkins product portfolio or any of the products Bowers & Wilkins currently distributes or current global operations.


Original story:

Even before the current  pandemic lockdown, it was clear that globally recognised premium audio company Bowers & Wilkins were experiencing issues at a corporate level. With the lockdown and accompanying economic downturn, those issues can only have been magnified.

Now, Sound United, the parent company to a range of well known audio firms such as Marantz and Denon has announced it is entering into the first stages of negotiations to acquire Bowers & Wilkins.

The press release is quoted below:


Vista, Calif (June 12, 2020) - Sound United LLC, parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz , Definitive Technology, HEOS, Classé, and Boston Acoustics, today announced it entered into a preliminary letter of intent to acquire Bowers & Wilkins, a leading designer and manufacturer of precision home speakers, headphones, custom installation products, wireless speakers, and branded audio systems in the automotive and television markets.  

Over the course of five decades Bowers & Wilkins built one of the most prestigious brands in the global speaker market with industry-leading acoustical engineering, iconic design and marketing,” said Kevin Duffy, CEO at Sound United. “B&W is a transformative brand and we look forward to the opportunity to finalize the transaction. This reflects Sound United’s unwavering focus to achieve its mission of bringing joy to the world through sound.” 

The proposed transaction remains subject to ongoing discussions, confirmatory diligence, regulatory approvals, and other required consents. Sound United and Bowers & Wilkins will release further updates in relation to the status of the proposed transaction at the appropriate time.


So, having extricated themselves from EVA Automation, the wireless and automation specialists that bought Bowers & Wilkins in 2016, it now looks as though another larger company will be taking over the British company and its premium line-up of home speakers, headphones and performance automotive products.

Does the prospect of another audio company coming under the Sound United umbrella cause any concerns or is it just a relief that Bowers and Wilkins will most likely continue and put its problems behind it? Let us know what you think in the discussion thread.

Source: Email press release
Image Source: Bowers & Wilkins, Sound United

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