Reports suggest the Pure digital radio business will be sold by Imagination Technologies, as the tech giant aims to cut losses and raise cash.

Imagination, which designs the chips used in the iPhone, has seen its share price halve over the last three months. The Pure digital radio business has struggled in recent years, prompting speculation the business will be sold.

The Sunday Times reports that investors have been told of the cost-cutting measures, adding the company's Kings Langley HQ could also be put up for sale, while the amount of money spent on research and development, and new products, is also likely to be cut.

Pure released a new range of radios - "the world's best-selling digital radio range" - at the IFA show in Berlin last September, and has recently branched out into multi-room speakers, with its Jongo range, and in-car audio.

Imagination Technologies released a profit warning in December 2015, with the news that pre-tax losses in the six months to October had deepened to £22.6m, up from £10.7m in 2014, while revenues slipped from £82.2m to £71.1m.

Now it seems the Pure radio business, which was founded by Imagination in 2002 simply to demonstrate the company's DAB decoding chip, could bear the brunt.

More after the break

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Gilboa's picture


An very interesting company in dire-straits it seems...what a shame. Apple owns 10% of IT I believe, maybe they could just buy it up completely? Anyway I hope Pure find a good home and don't just end up becoming a footnote and vanish.

EnjoyingTheMusic's picture

Been coming for a while

Pure was once a market leading flagship, the go to choice but in recent years has not kept up, seemingly by choice to cut costs. The DAB radio quality shot downwards with too much Co-branding of existing stock to the point of exhaustion then the dirt cheap looking recent radios with poor sound. My last Pure the D4 got top reviews but is cheaply made and struggles to produce a decent sound while the Ruark 1 and Revo came along and took their market.They peaked with the Evoke 2S and then failed to grasp internet radio fully, use old Bluetooth protocols and let Roberts, Revo and Ruark etc retake the space. The amp and speaker quality in the radios up to and including the 2S were truly great and then they changed and the polish was gone, with a dull, less attractive digital tone. I had almost every Pure radio around my and family homes and saw the changes first hand.

The Jongo speakers are confusing and never had a real push.

Pure seemed to lose its way and not know what it is for anymore. I have been reluctantly replacing mine as they age and end with other companies that combine internet streaming. Chromecast Audio then rendered them fairly obsolete for 30 pounds.

There is a space for a strong credible radio brand, it was Pure for ages - now they ride off the vestiges of their earlier work. It was clear R&D had ceased in radios and the horrid recent cheaply made radios at the same price were the last straw. Where their design skills and engineering led they now look increasingly out of touch and a brand obviously in the last stage of exploiting it's prior success with no onward path. The most recent radios seem to copy the highly successful Roberts internet radios such as 93i but feel possibly too little after this time. Where is their one piece hi-fi like the Ruark 4 /7, SonoroStereo, RevoSupersystem and the like? That market was Pure's for the taking years ago.

They increasingly emphasized everything but the radios at the website and lost shelf space at John Lewis with poor designs. The earlier curved corner hifi looked wonderful but never worked properly (I had three, returned two and dumped one eventually). The internet radios were often bewilderingly complex and put me off for years until Roberts got it right. Pure Lounge was launched but never followed through. Pure had portable DAB pocket products that didn't work (not once did I ever get a signal anywhere so gave up) and the excellent Pure Move was made more cheaply in its second version looking the cheapo job it was. The wonderful Oasis was replaced with a version that was too complex for its size and portability leading to bad sales. Yet.....the Evoke 1, 2, 2S, bedside radios, Oasis, first version of Move were great. The Evoke 3 was nearly great but now seems the start of the rot. Recordable radio that wasn't executed well and caused users to give up. Too many of their products went the same way. They forgot the combination of design and engineered had given them a premium price position then tried to go too modern when people wanted sleek midcentury.

It's a damned shame. What happened? A case of losing touch and lacking customer focus, innovating as a me-too without customer needs at the heart. I suspect the Apple link up didn't help. They'll end up exiting a market before it is mature and failing to transition properly into the connected home audio world. A company cannot cut R&D like this yet expect to thrive. If it is losing money it's because their price point eroded as the quality went down. A race to the bottom as Pure seemed intent on is unwinnable and destined to create market exit.

BillParish's picture

Pure lined up to be sold

The other reason for Pure's decline, apart from stiff competition in sales of portables, is the decline of the hi-fi tuner. If anyone buys a tuner these days I'm sure it is a "streamer", though god knows why, who really wants hundreds of stations? A much better alternative alternative to DAB is Freeview radio, available on any modern TV. It transmits at a a far higher bit rate than any DAB station.  DAB digital radio is still laughably promoted as a superior product by I believe, Digital Radio UK, headed up by a chap Ford Ennals who is no doubt on a six figure salary.  A lot of money is being spent on a pointless organisation long past it's sell-by date.

EnjoyingTheMusic's picture


Streamers cover genre styles and locations not on Freeview and work away from the TV. I listen to the Roberts 93i for favourite music channels inside and outside UK, none of which are on Freeview. Many of the best radio stations for music are internet streaming only now.