Harman to buy AMX for $365m

The Harman Group has signed a deal with The Duchossois Group to buy AMX for US$365 million, in what is likely to be one of the biggest stories of its kind this year. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

"Our vision is to extend our reach beyond the car into the enterprise, where we already have a substantial audio presence,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, chairman, president and CEO of Harman.

"AMX is the global technology leader in enterprise control and automation as well as audio and video switching and distribution. With the addition of AMX, Harman will be uniquely positioned to provide complete audio, video, lighting and automation solutions to our customers globally.”

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Richardson, Texas, AMX employs more than 600 people across its operations in 19 locations worldwide.

Speaking to InAVate from his office in Texas, Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, confirmed he is going to stay on at the new AMX, “I’ve already signed up” as have most of the senior management team, he added.

So why sell now, and why sell to Harman? "There's no time like the present. What we have been talking about for the past few years is also evident to Harman, video is exploding, in terms of the way people communicate and collaborate.

"Being able to combine the strengths of AMX and the strengths of Harman from the audio side, creates a scenario where 1 plus one equals 3, the sum is greater than the individuals.

"It’s a natural fit. The Duchossois family was at a point where they thought it was a good home. We have had offers (to sell) before, on a  regular basis actually, but this provides a platform for the future. It was the right time and the right owner.

"AMX has strength in corporate, education and government, Harman has strength in stadiums, arenas and houses of worship. What they are to audio we are to video, to combine them together it strengthens both sides," Skaf added.

"Starting with the acquisition of Martin lighting last year, Harman has set forth a clear strategy to add visual solutions to our legacy of audio offerings" said Blake Augsburger, president, Harman Professional division.

"AMX's strong portfolio of video distribution hardware and software is a significant step into the video domain, reinforcing Harman's commitment to expand our professional portfolio with industry-leading technologies and brands in adjacent and complementary markets."

Robert L. Fealy, president and COO, the Duchossois Group, and chairman of AMX. "The sale to Harman fulfills one of our fundamental objectives, which was to position this business with a leading entity that will take AMX to an even higher level of performance and success."