Bowers and Wilkins sells to a tiny house automation startup
Bowers & Wilkins has been cranking out strong audio gear for the higher a part of three many years, however it’s being acquired by an organization that is solely been round since 2014. Eva Automation, a Silicon Valley startup based by former Fb CFO (and San Francisco 49ers co-proprietor) Gideon Yu, is the brand new proprietor of the audio model. Little is understood concerning the firm aside from its forty-individual employees has the considerably obscure mission of “making merchandise that may change how individuals work together and take into consideration the house.” Though it has been round for 2 years, Eva Automation hasn’t launched any merchandise but.
The obvious query is why a trusted identify in audio would promote to such a younger firm. Nicely, Bowers & Wilkins CEO Joe Atkins hinted at a sale final yr earlier than talks with Eva started. Atkins additionally admitted that the corporate does not have the know-the way to construct audio gear that leverages the cloud, regardless of a variety of units that permit customers to play music with options like AirPlay. We’ll have to attend some time to see any new merchandise, as Yu says the primary new gear is deliberate for mid-2017. Maybe Amazon’s Echo will see some competitors subsequent summer time.
“We could have a lot, rather more to announce when the time is true about our imaginative and prescient and our merchandise,” Yu defined in a letter saying the acquisition. “Within the meantime, we’ll proceed to work arduous on creating a very particular, extremely built-in, and straightforward to make use of residence A/V expertise that I do know you will love.”
Eva Automation’s acquisition of a nicely-established firm is a little bit of a reversal within the startup world. Often it is the lengthy-operating manufacturers nabbing up newcomers, however the reverse is occurring right here. Whereas monetary phrases of the deal weren’t disclosed, Caledonia Investments did promote its 20 % stake in Bowers & Wilkins for £24 million money and £500,000 dividend. With some fast math, that provides you a tough determine of round £122.5 million ($one hundred seventy five million) for the full worth.
Atkins will stay CEO of the three way partnership with Yu serving as government chairman. Atkins, who owns 60 % of Bowers & Wilkins, will keep “a big” stake within the firm. What’s extra, no layoffs are deliberate, and the present lineup of Bowers & Wilkins audio gear is staying put for now. For reference, B&W has a employees of 1,one hundred, all of which stand to maintain their jobs after the deal.
“It can take some explaining,” Atkins advised Bloomberg. “I feel when the decision comes again, it is going to be clear that that is precisely what Bowers & Wilkins must be doing.”