Tag Archives for " Samsung "

Samsung Acquisition of Harman Not A Done Deal Yet

Harmon logoIt looks like that the deal for Samsung to buy Harman International may not happen as quickly and easily as everyone thought. Alexander Roepers, a large Harman shareh​older owning around 2.3% of the shares, has decided to vote against the deal, stating that the $8 billion price just isn’t high enough.

This is a great illustration of one of the pitfalls of a public company being in a small niche like the audio industry. Almost everything about this deal revolves around “shareholder value” on Harman’s part. Harman’s board wants its stock to rise (which it did when the deal was announced) and Roepers wants to make more money from his stock. Samsung wants to get into the car business, where Harman is a leader.

The problem is that nowhere do you hear the phrase, “This is going to be better for our products and customers,” because the fact of the matter is that neither is considered much. See the disconnect?

Harman owns a who’s who of premier audio companies, including Crown, AKG, dbx, Lexicon, AKG, Digitech, BSS, JBL Professional, Soundcraft, Studer and Martin Audio, not to mention hi-fi companies like B&W, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, and Infinity. While that stable of audio companies might combine into a powerhouse, the fact of the matter is that this segment pales when compared to its Connect Car and Lifestyle Audio segments. Harman already supplies the audio systems for some of the top auto manufacturers, including Audi, Bentley, Mercedes, BMW, Chrysler, Fiat, Jaguar, Jeep, Toyota and Volkswagen, among others. That’s what Samsung is interested in, not the audio professional side of things, a fact that might eventually signal the demise of those companies.

The fact of the matter is that Samsung needs this deal more than Harman, so expect it to happen after the price is raised. Keep your fingers crossed that the great audio companies involved eventually don’t disappear.

November 15, 2016

Engineer Mark Linett On Episode #135 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

Mark LinettGrammy-winning engineer Mark Linett certainly has an interesting background. From stints at the famed Sunset Sound and Warner Bros Amigo Studios, to work with Brian Wilson, Rikki Lee Jones, Los Lobos, Michael McDonald and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, he’s seen it all.

But that’s only the start. Mark owns one of the coolest studios in Los Angeles completely decked out with vintage gear (including 2 original Universal Audio consoles), as well as a mobile recording truck filled with the latest in high-tech.

He’s also been The Beach Boys archivist for over 20 years, and he’ll discuss some of the more interesting aspects of those tracks (especially “Good Vibrations”) in our talk.

On the intro I’ll look at what $1 million in a buy-on gets you on a Motley Crue tour, and the big news of Samsung buying Harmon, and Avid in potential trouble with the SEC again.

You can listen to it at bobbyoinnercircle.com, or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.

What Will Happen To JBL Now That Samsung Is Buying Harmon?

Harmon logoIf you’ve not heard, Samsung is buying Harmon International for around $8 billion, which should send shivers down the spines of JBL Pro users. The South Korean giant reportedly sees Harmon as a bridge to the connected car business and isn’t all that interested in the audio side of the business, although its saying all the right things about returning those operations to their previous strength. What’s worse is that most Harmon employees discovered the news through social media rather than communication with the company, which isn’t exactly a great way to make a first impression.

The silver lining here is that Samsung may determine that the Harmon Pro companies (which include Crown, dbx, Lexicon, AKG, Digitech, AMX, BSS, JBL Professional, Soundcraft, Studer and Martin Audio, not to mention hi-fi companies like B&W, Harmon Kardon, Mark Levinson, and Infinity) are in a small enough niche revenue-wise that it’s not interested, and spin either the entire division off, or the separate companies. On the other hand, it’s also possible that all will be folded into Samsung and these wonderful brands and products will cease to exist after a while.

Although we live in a corporate world where growth is mantra that all execs live by, the Samsung/Harmon deal doesn’t seem to be about that. Samsung has been reeling from a series of disasters product-wise that were attributed to corporate culture. Apparently in the case of both the Galaxy 7 and their washing machine, both fixes were rushed out the door rather than a thorough investigation to the cause of the problems. This acquisition puts a positive spin on the company when it so sorely needs it, but it also looks to the future as the car gets more and more sophisticated. Harmon makes most of its money from its OEM auto audio systems and has been heavily moving the connected car direction.

JBL Pro has already been fairly corporate for some time, but having new Asian overlords is another level of bureaucracy entirely. Next year’s AES should be very interesting to see if there are any changes by then.