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Gibson To Buy Philips’ Woox A/V Business

Amsterdam, the Netherlands — Gibson Brands is venturing further into the consumer audio business by signing an agreement to purchase Philips’ Woox Innovations business, which manufactures portable and tabletop Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers, soundbars, HTiBs, cordless phones and accessories for global sale. 4/28/2014 05:02:00 AM Eastern

Amsterdam, the Netherlands — Gibson Brands is venturing further into the consumer audio business by signing an agreement to purchase Philips’ Woox Innovations business, which manufactures portable and tabletop Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers, soundbars, HTiBs, cordless phones and accessories for global sale.

Hong Kong-based Woox, formerly called Philips Lifestyle Entertainment, also makes and markets DVD and Blu-ray players.

Woox will be sold for $135 million, including a brand-license fee covering the licensing of the Philips name for seven years, after which Philips will consider a license renewal, Woox spokesman Mark Groves said from Amsterdam. Woox will operate as a stand-alone business within Gibson, he said.

Woox’s DVD and Blu-ray business will be transferred to Gibson in 2017 because of existing intellectual property licensing arrangements, Woox said.

The deal is expected to close in the second half.

The deal doesn’t mean that Gibson will be responsible for marketing Philips-brand audio in North America, at least until 2016. In the U.S., Funai subsidiary P&F USA has an agreement with Philips to market Woox’s products on an exclusive basis in North America through the end of 2015.

“We can't comment on plans beyond the current agreement that's in place until 2015,” Groves told TWICE.

P&F USA is also the exclusive North American licensee for Philips-brand consumer TVs through 2015 under another agreement, which makes P&F USA responsible for the sourcing, distribution, marketing and sales of those products. Philips previously sold off its TV-manufacturing business to Hong Kong-based TP Vision (TPV), Groves said.

“With this transaction, we are taking another important step in Philips’ transformation to become a leading technology company in health and well-being,” said Philips CEO Frans van Houten.

For its part, Gibson said the deal supports its “ambition to become global leader in music and home entertainment.”

Privately held Gibson purchased 51 percent of Onkyo USA from Japan-based Onkyo in early 2012, when it also became Onkyo Japan’s second largest shareholder by buying about 15 percent of the company’s shares. In May 2013, Gibson closed on its purchase of a 54.4 percent stake in Japan’s Teac, which offers consumer and pro audio, broadcast and medical equipment, in-flight entertainment systems and recordable optical discs.

Gibson previously made musical instruments as well as pro audio equipment and ventured into consumer audio for the first time with its Onkyo stake and an earlier acquisition of Cerwin-Vega.

Last year, Philips called off a deal to sell its Lifestyle Entertainment business unit to Japan’s Funai Electric for $200 million. Funai would have taken over production of Lifestyle products and would have licensed the rights to market the products under the Philips brand for five years. Philips contended Funai hadn’t taken the steps necessary to complete the deal and said at the time it would seek damages, citing breach of contract. Funai denied the charge.

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