Bang & Olufsen to sell automotive car audio business to Harman International

Bang & Olufsen (B&O) yesterday struck a deal to sell its automotive car audio business to the maker of JBL audio equipment Harman International Industries Inc, for about €145 million ($157.3 million).

The deal includes licence payments for an exclusive license to the B&O and B&O PLAY brands within the automotive industry. The purchase does not include Bang & Olufsen's consumer-electronics business.

Harman will assume all B&O Automotive customer programs, and all B&O Automotive development and production resources will be transferred to Harman.

B&O car audio sound systems are used by makers of high-end luxury cars including Audi, Aston Martin, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, while Harman brands that include AKG, Harman / Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Logic 7, Mark Levinson, Lexicon, Revel, Selenium, and yurbuds are in more than 25 million cars.

''In just 10 years, we have built B&O Automotive based on Bang & Olufsen's exclusive brand and unique capabilities within acoustics, design and craftsmanship. Harman's position as the market leader in car audio and infotainment solutions combined with the strengths of the Bang & Olufsen brands will create significant benefits for automotive customers, as well as for both companies,'' said Tue Mantoni, B&O president and CEO.

''B&O is a distinctive brand that will complement our existing premium branded offerings and strengthen Harman's position in this segment. While B&O branded solutions will continue at the top of the high-end luxury segment, we will rapidly grow B&O PLAY branded solutions in the larger mass luxury market,'' said Dinesh Paliwal, Harman's chairman, president and CEO.

B&O was founded in Struer, Denmark, in 1925 by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, two engineers devoted to high quality audio reproduction. Since then, the brand has become an icon of performance and design excellence.

Today B&O is world renowned for its distinctive range of quality televisions, music systems and high-performance loudspeakers and its products are sold mainly by an extensive, independent retail network across more than 100 countries.

Harman designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and enterprise automation solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets.

It has a workforce of around 17,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.9 billion last year.