Sound United, parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, HEOS, Classé, and Boston Acoustics, has entered into a preliminary letter of intent to acquire Bowers & Wilkins, the designer and manufacturer of 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.
Geoff Edwards, CEO of Bowers & Wilkins, confirmed in a separate statement that 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,” Edwards said. “It would allow the Bowers & Wilkins team even greater opportunities to focus on what we do best – building the industry’s finest loudspeakers.”
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.
Sound United is a portfolio company of Boston-based private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners, LLC.