Could Focal, which also owns Naim, be about to fall under the ownership of troubled South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung?

As Monday morning rumours go, this is an intriguing one: Reuters has picked up on a story - hotly denied - in South Korea's Financial News that Samsung is in advanced talks to take over French speaker company Focal in a deal said to be worth up to 300 billion won (£220m).

Reuters reports that talks between the two companies are believed to be "in the final stages", and Samsung hopes to complete the acquisition by the end of this year.

Samsung has flatly denied the rumour, telling Reuters: "The report from Financial News on the acquisition of the French audio equipment maker, Focal, is not true." We contacted Samsung and Focal for further comment.

A spokesperson for Samsung UK told What Hi-Fi?: "We don't comment on rumour or speculation." A day later we received a second statement: "The report on the acquisition of the French audio equipment maker, Focal, is not true."

And a similar statement was issued to us by Focal: ""We can confirm that Focal has not discussed with Samsung a potential investment, and will not make any further comment on speculation or rumours."

More after the break

The speculation comes at a tricky time for Samsung, which is battling the damage done to its reputation by the problems with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which was withdrawn from sale when some of the devices exploded and caught fire. 

Any move to acquire Focal would have significant implications for the audio industry, as Focal merged with Naim Audio in 2011 to create a pan-European hi-fi business with a combined turnover of more than £48m.

The merged company, Focal & Co, owns and manages Focal and Naim as independent brands, retaining their own philosophies and product ranges, but collaborating on research and development.

Naim has recently invested nearly £4m in its new Uniti range of all-in-one streamers.

MORE: Q&A - Naim Audio and Focal merger

Source: Reuters

Comments

manicm's picture

It may only be a rumour, but

It may only be a rumour, but it's still worrying. If Focal is in trouble, so will Naim be. I'm guessing a combined turnover of 48m pounds is not that great?

Jota180's picture

.

£48 million turnover is small fry in the business world.  After the over heads, taxes and wages, the profit margins will be minute.  Samsung will lose more down the back of it's couch.

Regarding their problem with the Note 7, it's not good news for them but they'll recover from it without much problem.

chrisr1718's picture

Focal in trouble?

Are Focal in trouble? The report only mentions that Samsung are in trouble.

manicm's picture

@chrisr1718, apart from the

@chrisr1718, apart from the Note 7 disaster, if Samsung were in trouble the last thing they'd do is take over a company like Focal.

If anyone would be in real trouble it would have to be the French company. Obviously I hope it's not the case - no-one wants to see Naim go down.

jjbomber's picture

Samsung.

Samsung recently reported their best quarterly results in 2 years, making $7 billion for the 3 months, and are in great shape. WhatHiFi are pro-Apple and anti-Samsung. For a company making $7 billion a quarter to buy a company valued at £220 million is pocket money.

Andy Clough's picture

Nonsense

We are not "pro Apple and anti Samsung". Look at our TV Awards for 2016 for example:

http://www.whathifi.com/awards/2016/televisions

And we loved the Galaxy Note 7 before it had to be withdrawn:

http://www.whathifi.com/samsung/galaxy-note-7/review

 

 

AlbaBrown's picture

Rumoured but don't they have history?

Sounds a bit of a stretch, but from memory there was a huge pair of Samsung speakers (15 years+ ago) that featured JM Lab drive units. They may have been a concept or purely for a certain market I don't know but it shows they have had a brief flirtation I guess. I would have thought the in-car market would be of most interest for Samsung given Focal's history in that area (I use a Focal Performance speaker kit in the car), and the drive for Android/Apple car integration. I do hope it doesn't happen though as it will lead to the brand becoming less prestigious (although more extensive marketing from it will gain more review coverage)

 

Jota180's picture

Could be that Samsung wants

Could be that Samsung wants it's hands on certain technologies and skills sets of both Focal and Naim for their home entertainment division.  They're big players in TV, BluRay and the like and it could be a move to integrate well regarded hifi brands and their know how into their merchandise.

manicm's picture

Can't see how Samsung can

Can't see how Samsung can integrate anything from Naim. They'd probably be horrified at the production costs.

Samsung has been hit hard by the Note 7 debacle, don't underestimate it, they can probably redeem the situation with the next Galaxy phones.

ashcorn's picture

300 billion! That's some serious cash.

300 billion! That's some serious cash.

CanadianDave's picture

NAIM "Made in Korea"

Unless it is an absolute hoax, which I can't really believe, there has to be some kind of justification for a rumour of this nature. It would make perfect sence for SAMSUNG to want to acquire essentially two world class high end audio developers and manufacturers. The new generation of high definition 4K TVs for example are perfectly made to be matched with superb sound systems, and NAIM is one of leaders in digital high end technology development.

I'm saying that it would make sense for SAMSUNG, I'm not saying that it would be good. There is a total difference in quality, philosophy (and the market) for European made audio equipment to that made in Asia. A SAMSUNG takeover would be bad for the potential future of both NAIM and FOCAL. Somehow the thought of NAIM audio equipment proudly displaying a "Made in Korea" label is enough to make me shudder.