Your Daily Phil

Major sale possible in the audio market

Posted by lozenp on April 20, 2008

D&M Holdings, which owns Denon, Marantz and McIntosh, among several other brands, is up for sale, and the list of potential suitors is quite interesting.

D&M is owned by RJH International, which has put up 49 percent of its shares. Philips electronics has offered up its 12 percent as well, which means the buyer would be the majority owner. And while news of Blockbuster looking to buy Circuit City was big last week, this change of hands could be even bigger.

The front-runners currently look to be Bain Capital (which owns Kenwood, along with my employer Domino’s Pizza), Harman International (owners of Harman-Kardon, JBL and Infinity) and the big-box retailer everyone loves to hate, Best Buy.

As Audioholics.com points out, Bain winning the bidding war could put Kenwood back into the living room. Most audioholics are probably cheering for Harman to win out. That would add Snell, Boston Acoustics and Escient, along with the aforementioned Denon, Marantz and McIntosh brands, to an already impressive lineup.

But the Best Buy angle is the one that seems the most interesting. The D&M companies currently operate very independantly. If Best Buy gets control of them – most of all high-end speaker maker McIntosh which prides itself on its hand-crafted work – it would be very interesting to see how the retailer handles the changeover. Keep an eye on this, it could change the audio landscape in a very large way.

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