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Samsung Buys Harman

Korean electronics company purchases pro audio brands

On Monday, November 14, South Korea manufacturer Samsung announced its biggest acquisition to date with the $8 billion cash purchase of Harman International, referred to by the financial markets as an “auto parts supplier.” Samsung said it would pay $112 a share in cash, a 28% premium over Harman’s Friday closing price. The company’s shares surged 25% Monday but closed at $109.72, under Samsung’s offer price.

Commentary centered around the fact that roughly 65% to 70% of Harman’s revenue come from technologies related to auto manufacturing, including speakers, but also technologies and patents related to the connected automobile. While the move seems to focus on consumer initiatives, there has been no comment on how the deal might affect Harman’s professional audio properties, including JBL, AKG, Studer/Soundcraft, dbx, BSS, Lexicon and Crown.

At the same time, IBM announced a technology partnership with IBM relating to voice-enabled cognitive health care products.