EXCLUSIVE: Bowers & Wilkins, Into The Future
What happens when you take one of the world’s most successful loudspeaker brands and merge it with a next-generation Silicon Valley tech company?
The answer is really simple, and it’s all good news for B&W fans.
The announcement was made overnight that B&W had been bought by EVA Automation. No, you haven’t heard of them. And while they might be just two years young, they come with a role call that’s mighty experienced.
Co-founded by three entrepreneurs, chairman and CEO Gideon Yu is a former Facebook and YouTube executive. Yu possesses the smarts to drive a company in today’s fast paced global tech market.
Gideon Yu said on the acquisition:
I am beyond thrilled to announce that we have acquired Bowers & Wilkins—in my opinion, the absolute quality and design leader in high-end audio equipment. I’ve personally been a huge fan and loyal customer of Bowers & Wilkins for decades and truly admire and respect their Chairman, Joe Atkins. What he and his team have created over the past 30 years is simply inspiring.
Dave Liu, COO, with an impressive career starting at age 19 as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. Over 20 years, Dave progressed from the mailroom to Managing Director in charge of all Internet and Digital Media investment banking activities. He has also trained and managed over 100 bankers, and has studied and worked with over 1,000 companies, including IBM, Sony, Yahoo!, and Yelp. An MBA from Harvard, and two Bachelor of Science degrees give Liu the financial smarts.
Gaylord Yu, CTO, brings over 20 years of technology experience. As CTO of Major Accounts at Xerox and VP of Engineering at Publicis Groupe. Gaylord spent 13 years at Motorola, intimately involved in the department of all major digital cellular technologies including 3G, 4G, WiMax and LTE. He ultimately ran a $150 million engineering budget overseeing hundreds of engineers. Gaylord has an MBA from the University of Chicago and BS Computer Science from Northwestern University.
So just what are EVA Automation about? They tell the story best:
At EVA Automation, we are reimagining the audio/video experience by making products that will change how people interact and think about the home. We are passionate about home entertainment and creating easier and better ways for people to use the products they love. At the heart of it, we are a team of idea makers and problem solvers who are focused on user experience, design and innovation.
There is no argument to be had about B&W’s ability to build world-class speakers. Marry that capability with the tech that EVA Automation have developed in multi-room A/V technology, and you now have a force to be reckoned with.
EVA Automation, under the new arrangement that will fall under the Bowers & Wilkins brand name, decided they could “accelerate our mission” by partnering with a “more established super-high-quality brand,” according to Yu.
Yu continued, “We can’t do it alone as a stand-alone start-up company because of competition in the CE industry”, after talking to many audio companies for potential partnerships.
StereoNET spoke to B&W’s Australian distribution partner, Convoy International in Munich today, and their General Manager for Specialty Audio, Gary Tye said:
This is a great development for what is already a very successful brand that we have distributed very successfully for over 40 years. The merging of technologies developed by both companies, experts in their respective fields, will mean smarter, more connected products that answer the needs of consumers today and into the future.
The distribution of Bowers & Wilkins will not change, and we will likely see more products being added to the already well focused range that opens the market to a broader audience for Bowers & Wilkins.
The potential direction of the brand is in line with Convoy’s own roadmap for more integration and multi-room capable products, therefore we support this move wholeheartedly.
Founded in 1966 by John Bowers and Roy Wilkins, who started the company by hand-assembling speaker systems for local clients in Worthing, West Sussex, England, has grown into a truly international company.
StereoNET, in Munich last night witnessed firsthand the collection of delegates from Bowers & Wilkins subsidiaries around the world at a private function, and it is indeed a small army.
Bowers & Wilkins former majority shareholder and chairman, Joe Atkins, will stay on as CEO under the new ownership.
It’s time to sit back, and watch what unfolds as Bowers & Wilkins continues to grow their brand and develop the next generation of products.
Bowers & Wilkins is distributed in Australia by Convoy International.