Gibson, founded in 1894 and long known for guitars, steadily expanded its influence in the musical instruments and pro audio markets before making its first venture into the home audio business in late 2011.
In December 2011, privately held Gibson Guitar acquired the Stanton Group, further expanding its pro-audio presence and establishing a toe-hold in consumer audio. The Stanton Group included Cerwin Vega home and pro- audio speakers, KRK Systems pro-audio speakers and studio-control solutions, and Stanton DJ’s professional DJ equipment.
Home-audio acquisitions didn’t stop there. CEO Henry Juszkiewicz’s company, renamed Gibson Brands in 2013, owns significant stakes in Onkyo and Teac, completed the purchase this year of Philips’s WOOX Innovations business, and will indirectly own a piece of Pioneer’s home entertainment business in 2015.
In early 2012, Juszkiewicz ‘s company purchased a stake in Japan-based Onkyo, becoming its second largest shareholder, and purchased a 51 percent in Onkyo subsidiary Onkyo USA. Gibson now owns a 21.5 percent stake in Onkyo.
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.
In 2014, Gibson closed on its purchase of WOOX, which makes portable and tabletop Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers, soundbars, HTiBs, cordless phones, accessories, and Blu-ray and DVD players for global sale. The $135 million deal included a brand-license fee covering the licensing of the Philips name for seven years, after which Philips will consider a license renewal.
In 2015, Gibson will extend its influence, indirectly, to Pioneer’s home entertainment operations, which Pioneer is selling off to Onkyo. That business will be integrated into Onkyo’s operations on July 1, 2015. As part of the Onkyo deal, Pioneer will purchase a 14.95 percent stake in Onkyo, but Gibson will remain Onkyo’s second-largest shareholder with a 21.5 percent stake.
“Gibson now encompasses the entire music and sound chain from the first chord played by a songwriter on a Gibson guitar until the music reaches the consumer through Onkyo’s premium high-fidelity systems,” Juszkiewicz said when he renamed the company.