The South Korean electronics giant has agreed a takeover of US audio company Harman for $112 per share in cash, valuing it at $8bn.

It may not be the deal of the decade, but it's still mighty big. Samsung, which has recently been battling the reputational damage caused by its exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, has announced this morning that it is taking over US audio giant Harman International.

Harman, which owns brands including Harman Kardon, AKG, JBL, Mark Levinson, Revel, Infinity and Lexicon, also has a strong presence in the automotive audio market, providing in-car systems for the likes of BMW, Lexus and Tesla. Harman also recently bought Bang & Olufsen's in-car division for €145m.

As part of the B&O deal, Harman teamed up with Ford to offer B&O Play sound systems in Ford vehicles from 2017.

In a statement issued this morning, Samsung says: "The transaction will immediately give Samsung a presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung and is expected to grow to $100bn by 2025.


More after the break

"In addition, the combination of Harman’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics will deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems."

“Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” says Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice-chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics. 

“The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade,” adds Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics.

Earlier this month Samsung denied reports that it was planning a takeover of Focal, the French speaker company that owns Naim Audio (which provides in-car audio systems for Bentley).

MORE: See all our Harman Kardon reviews


Gilboa's picture

The Takeover

If the main reason Samsung purchased the Harmon Kardon group is for automotive. I'm worried they'll ultimately just dump or discontinue the high-end audio brands with the result of us losing those iconic names. Or they'll just take one of the more affordable quality brands like JBL and stick a Samsung name on it. How can a huge bureacratic multi-national electronics firm have an appreciation for super high-quality (and probally loss making) brands like Mark Levinson and Revel? They might just keep those names for higher-end automotive installations and stop producing the home electronic and speaker lines of those products to cut costs or something...and I just purchased a JBL speaker bar/sub-woofer combo yesterday!

Jota180's picture


Super high quality?  These companies get nowhere near Samsung in the super high quality stakes.  Samsung design and manufacture semiconductor chips, being one of the few companies in the world who are capable of this.  Intel and Texas Instruments being a couple of others.

But yes, it seems their interest in this deal is primarily for the in-car market but the home market is also one that Samsung targets with it's electronic appliances for the kitchen and living room.

Infiniteloop's picture

A very sad day. Samsung is

A very sad day. Samsung is like the Borg. Harman will be pillaged for its technologies and assimilated into watered down, cheap plastic carp in the name of 'innovation'. Samsung are hopeless at software (which is why they need Android, although they'd really rather not be in Google's pockets) and likely need this knowhow to further their ambitions in automotive. This is about systems, not hardware. 

Jota180's picture

If these companies were any

If these companies were any good they'd be buying Samsung.  Samsung lose more down the back of the corporate couch than these companies have made in their lifetime and that's because they produce things people want.  300 billion dollars a year income says they sell more than cheap plastic.

Aizad Sayid's picture

Sad takeover!

One of my first speaker brands was Infinity. H.K manufactured beautiful high current amps. Revel and M.L still compete comfortably in the category of ultra high end audio. Unfortunately, Samsung will appreciate none of this, and brand low quality mass produced disposable electronics. Alas! Proud brand names with decades of loyal customers - lost for posterity.

chebby's picture

I was not even aware that

I was not even aware that Harmon Kardon were still a proper audio company? (Are they?)

I thought they were just a 'badge' that some generic Bluetooth speaker/earphone company had bought to brand their products with in the USA. (Too few people outside the USA know them.)

Andy Clough's picture

Harman Kardon

You are misinformed Chebby. Harman Kardon is a major player in the US audio market, owning multiple hi-fi brands (including some very high-end names), and is part of Harman International which generated revenues of $6.9bn in 2016 and has 26,000 employees.

chebby's picture

Well, well. All a bit of a

Well, well. All a bit of a moot point now.