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Kicker Buys SoundGate

9/08/2006 03:06:00 PM Eastern

Stillwater, Okla. — Stillwater Designs, maker of Kicker car audio speaker, has acquired OEM integrator SoundGate of Sheridan, Wyo., for an undisclosed sum.

Both are privately held companies.

SoundGate produces devices that connect iPods and other items to car stereo systems. The company, including founders Rob and Julie Putnam and several staff members, will relocate to Kicker headquarters here.

In a statement, Stillwater said the acquisition “will secure the ability to integrate Kicker systems into the new technologies available in automobiles today and in the future." Sales director Rob Limbaugh said, “There’s too many consumers who have convinced themselves there’s nothing they can do with their BMW or Lexus and they’ve stopped trying. We’re going to work on reversing that.”

The Consumer Electronics Association estimates the entire OEM integration market for interfacing MP3/iPods and other devices with car A/V systems will grow by 90 percent this year to $29 million and by another 100 percent next year to $57 million.