Harman, owner of pro AV brands such as JBL, Soundcraft, AKG, dbx, AMX, and BBS, will be purchased in a move that will strengthen product offerings across markets.
South Korean manufacturer Samsung Electronics and Harman International Industries Inc. have announced that they entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire Harman, manufacturers of pro A/V brands JBL, Soundcraft, AKG, dbx, AMX, BBS, and others. Samsung will pay $112 per share in cash, or total equity value of approximately $8 billion. Upon closing, the transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies -- expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2015 -- which has been a strategic priority for Samsung.
Harman is reported to be the market leader in connected car solutions, with more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, and connected safety and security. Approximately 65% of Harman’s $7 billion of sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016, are automotive-related, and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016, was reported to be approximately $24 billion.Combined strength
Harman’s experience designing and integrating sophisticated in-vehicle technologies, as well as its long-term relationships with most of the world’s largest automakers, is expected to create significant growth opportunities for the combined business by enabling it to leverage Samsung’s expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays, and its global distribution channels. In addition, the combination of Harman’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics is expected to deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.
“Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” says Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics. “As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology, and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform. Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team, and Harman’s talented employees. Harman’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”
Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics, notes, “The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade."
Sohn continues, "We see substantial long-term growth opportunities in the auto technology market as demand for Samsung’s specialized electronic components and solutions continues to grow. Working together, we are confident that Harman can become a new kind of Tier 1 provider to the OEMs by delivering end-to-end solutions across the connected ecosystem.”
Dinesh Paliwal, Harman chairman, president and CEO, states, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders. Samsung is an ideal partner for Harman, and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world."
"Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions, [along] with Harman’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships, will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers."
—Dinesh Paliwal, Chairman, President & CEO, Harman
Paliwal add, "Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions, [along] with Harman’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships, will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers. Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace. This transaction will bring Harman and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space. More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of Harman’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets. We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”End-user benefits and growth opportunities
Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and Harman’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.• Automotive:
Combining Harman’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates, and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance Harman’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.• Audio:
Harman’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, AKG, Lexicon, Infinity, and Revel. The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen brands for automotive. All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.• Professional:
The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Staples Center – home of the Grammy Awards.• Connected Services:
Samsung will gain access to Harman’s 8,000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market. This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices.Operating structure and leadership
Upon closing, Harman will operate as a standalone Samsung subsidiary, and continue to be led by Dinesh Paliwal and Harman’s current management team. Samsung is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and plans to retain Harman’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands. Samsung believes the combination will increase career development and advancement opportunities for the employees of both companies.
Samsung’s Automotive Electronics Business Team, which was established in December of 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, reports that it will work closely with the Harman management team to realize the full growth potential of the combination.