By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
American Capital Strategies has invested a $56 million financing package in Unwired Technology, a wireless headphones and components designer, marketer and supplier for auto entertainment systems and wireless headphones supplier to the auto OEM market and aftermarket.
American Capital, an investor based here, which partnered with Unwired management to complete the deal, will own a 57 percent share of the Plainview, N.Y.-based Unwired after the close. Unwired founder and president/CEO Larry Richenstein is rolling over a portion of his equity in the company, but will retain a significant ownership interest and continue to manage the operation.
“American Capital’s responsiveness, flexibility and financing capabilities make them the right financial partner for Unwired’s continued growth and development,” said Richenstein. No day-to-day operating or personnel changes are anticipated.
“I sold the company for two primary reasons, to take a few chips off the table and to enable Unwired to go to the next step in its development as a company,” Richenstein told TWICE. “I will continue to own a significant interest in Unwired, and to run the company as I have since the beginning. However, the addition of American Capital as my partner will give the company an added degree of professionalism with a real board of directors and the financial support that will allow the company to take advantage of new opportunities as they present themselves.”
Unwired, called the benchmark for all suppliers of wireless headphones by American Capital, offers strong brand identity, a reputation for quality and service, and leadership technology, said the investor. Unwired serves every major supplier of entertainment systems in the auto OEM and aftermarket, said its new partner.
Founded in 1997, Unwired was the first to adapt wireless headphone technology for in-vehicle use and the first to introduce two-source headphones systems. It produced a single-channel headset for the aftermarket, which was soon followed by dual-source infrared wireless headphones and transmitters.
Two years ago, Unwired began offering a new proprietary digital technology called WhiteFire, said to be the only four-source headphones system available. WhiteFire permits the digital transmission of up to four high-quality stereo audio signals to vehicle passengers, allowing each to listen to their own audio source.
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