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Linear Buys Sunfire, Imerge

8/31/2005 08:48:00 AM Eastern

Carlsbad, Calif. — Linear announced its second acquisition in a week, purchasing Bob Carver’s Sunfire, following the purchase of music-server maker Imerge, bringing its total for the year to date to four.

The Imerge and Sunfire management teams, including Sunfire president Bob Carver, will remain with their respective companies.

The other two acquisitions were Panamax, the maker of surge-protection and power-conditioning equipment, and Niles Audio, the custom audio supplier.

With the Sunfire acquisition, Linear for the first time is buying a more traditional home audio supplier that offers component electronics and speakers but little in the way of dedicated custom products such as distributed-audio systems, architectural speakers and IR repeater systems.

Linear started out in the residential custom industry as a worldwide supplier of wireless residential security systems, intercoms, garage-door operators, gate operators, short and long-range radio remote controls and medical/emergency reporting systems. Since them, it has expanded through acquisition mainly into custom residential A/V installation.

In recent years, Linear acquired multiple custom-installation suppliers, including distributed-A/V supplier ChannelPlus, multiroom-A/V equipment company ELAN Home Systems, intercom and central vacuum supplier M&S, component-mounting-equipment supplier OmniMount, structured-wiring company OpenHouse, custom speaker and electronics supplier SpeakerCraft, and IR-distribution supplier Xantech.

Snohomish, Wash.-based Sunfire markets high-end speakers, home audio, home theater electronics and subwoofers. Its current product line includes subwoofers, preamplifiers, receivers, amplifiers and related home audio and home theater electronics.

At the CEDIA Expo, Sunfire will launch its first architectural speaker, a $3,500-suggested in-wall subwoofer. Sunfire’s first non-subwoofer speaker is a 7-inch by 5-inch on-wall/on-stand with ribbon technology and side-firing drivers.

U.K.-based Imerge makes music servers and networked music clients. Its XiVA and XiVA-Net are licensed extensively to other consumer electronics suppliers.

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