Opinion: Is the B&W and Sound United romance over already?
In mid-June, StereoNET broke the news that Sound United had announced its intent to acquire Bowers & Wilkins. Only hours later, cracks started appearing in any potential deal, and speculation today says that talks may already be over.
Yet within hours of our story being published, StereoNET's UK office received direct communication from B&W's UK-based PR agency. The provided press release made it clear that B&W wanted to clarify Sound United's announcement promptly. More unusual was this communication was received on a Sunday (Saturday in the UK). Perhaps Sound United pressed play too soon?
B&W's communication confirmed talks had commenced with Sound United, but were quick to highlight one key point. Rather than being “acquired” by Sound United, the company’s tone suggested they were more interested in a partner with which to collaborate, and “with a view to consolidating our premium brands into a new group offering even better consumer opportunities.” It was becoming clear both parties were perhaps not on the same page.
Let us not forget that Sound United is not afraid to walk away from big deals. Last year, the company backed out of acquiring Onkyo Corporation's consumer audio division, including the Onkyo, Pioneer, Pioneer Elite, and Integra brands.
Other news outlets are speculating this morning that the deal between Sound United and Bowers & Wilkins is off the table, but either company has yet made no official announcement. In this writer's opinion, the romance was probably over the moment both parties turned up for dinner at different restaurants.