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Surprise! Sound United Makes Bid to Acquire Classé


Will High-End Classé Represent Sound United’s Crown Jewel?

Classe logoJust when you thought it was all over, Strata-gee has learned that a new suitor – Vista, CA-based Sound United – has emerged to make a bid to acquire Classé Audio from current owner B&W Group. Classé was shut down by B&W on October 6th, as we reported at the time. However, because the company was still sitting on a relatively significant level of inventory – and was considering producing an additional small run of certain models to balance out their inventory to facilitate liquidation – B&W executives often maintained it was still in business.

When deals with three previously interested parties failed to come to fruition, B&W made the decision to close Classé’s Montreal headquarters, dismiss all Classé staff, and turned over service and support functions to B&W facilities.

See more on this surprising development for Classé… Continue reading

When Income is NOT the Main Goal of RMR

Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs - Installment 3NOTE: This post is part of a series of articles on recurring monthly revenue programs we call Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs. It will likely make more sense to you if you start by reading our Series Introduction here… and then our Topic Introduction and First Installment here

In our last installment, we learned how Chris Smith and the team at Cloud9 Smart have embraced maintenance contracts in order to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to properly maintain and service their installations. In this installment, we visit with Ben Lentz and the team at Cyber Technology Group who had a slightly different motivation for developing an RMR program they call the Client Care Plan for their clients…and income was NOT the main motivating factor.

See what motivated Cyber Technology Group to offer a Client Care Plan… Continue reading

Gibson Cuts Debt Deal to Delay Payment Date

Logo for Gibson BrandsGibson Brands has reached a deal with GSO Capital Partners, one of its existing lenders, in order to push back a loan payment by approximately two weeks to December 15th. The reason for the move was to try and time the payment such that it arrived later in the holiday season for better timing relative to their anticipated cash flow.

See more on this new, if temporary, debt deal… Continue reading

Gibson Successfully Sells Memphis Factory

Gibson's Memphis factoryFrom our boy-that-was-fast department, Gibson Brands announced it has booked a deal to sell its Memphis factory/showroom. This facility, which is located in the heart of Memphis’ downtown right near the main entertainment district, had just been put on the market as we told you in our post of November 2nd.

See more on this latest Gibson Brands news… Continue reading

Portal Adds Origin Acoustics; Gains Exclusive on Valet Amp

Portal logoPortal announced today that it has secured a deal with Origin Acoustics which will allow dealers to select and purchase Origin products through its unique, brand-agnostic, proposal and purchasing web portal for integrators. The deal includes not only Origin products, but iRoom brand models as well. And Portal says it will be offering “exclusive access to the award winning Valet Amplifier system.”

See more on this new line being offered through Portal… Continue reading

More Thiel Turmoil – Is It Closed? Is It Open?

Significant Staff Terminations Drop Headcount

New Thiel Audio logoWe are hearing from multiple sources both public and private that Thiel Audio has ceased operations, effective November 30, 2017. If true, the news would be a sad punctuation to the end of the story of a once proud  high-end audio brand that since 2012 has endured multiple CEO’s and their changing business plans. Current CEO Elyse McKenna is, by our count, the fifth CEO at Thiel since the end of 2012 – a year which started with co-founder Kathy Gornik as the CEO who then sold the company to David B. Griffin, a wealthy farmer and landowner according to our sources.

But, apparently, the answer to the question posed in our headline is that it depends on who you ask. CEO Elyse McKenna, in a telephone interview this afternoon, denied that Thiel is closed and tells us the company remains open for business.

See more on this confusing news on Thiel… Continue reading

Long Simmering Sonos vs. D&M Lawsuit is Now Boiling Over

Trial is Next Week; Sonos Makes Big Mistake

Sonos logoEver since Sonos filed their patent infringement case against D&M Holdings – in reference to its then new HEOS line – things started out like the opening salvo in a boxing match. That was over three years ago in October 2014 and after an initial flurry, including the filing of a countersuit by D&M Holdings, the event went on to settle down into more of a wrestling match, as opposed to boxing. Each side jockeyed for leverage on the other, with our judgment giving a slight advantage to Sonos, whose legal team seemed just slightly better in their approach perhaps even winning over the judge in a series of mostly favorable rulings.

Now, on the eve of trial and in front of a new judge, things are really moving from its long, low simmer to a boil – in fact, boiling over in the days leading up to trial next week starting December 11.

See recent developments just days before commencement of trial… Continue reading

Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs – How We Do RMR in the Big City

We continue on with our new Strata-SERIES:RMR Programs series of articles. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan you’ll find Union Square and in Union Square you’ll find Cloud9 Smart, a leading New York City integrator in both commercial and residential installations.

[Note: this article is part of a series and will make more sense if you read Installment 1 first. You can find it at this link…]

See How They Do RMR in the Big Apple… Continue reading

Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs – Just What Kind of Business are You In?

Topic Introduction – RMR Programs Can Change the Game

First installment of RMR seriesWhen given the assignment to check up on the state of recurring monthly revenue (RMR) programs, it seemed like a pretty straightforward task. After all, everybody embraces RMR…right? We began by randomly reaching out to custom integrators around the country – including a few large, high revenue businesses. The simple request…tell us about your RMR program.

[This is the first post in a series of articles we call Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs. Read about why we created this series here…]

First problem? Nobody wanted to talk to us! Read on to see why… Continue reading

Strata-SERIES: RMR Programs – Not Just Revenue, A Redefined Client Relationship

Introducing A New Article Series on RMR Programs

Cover of Residential Systems December issueHave you seen the December issue of Residential Systems Magazine? I wrote the cover story, “Maintaining Customer Joy” (online as: Maintaining Customer Joy Through Service Plans), a detailed article about the benefits and challenges of implementing a recurring monthly revenue (RMR) program in an integration company. In that story, I interviewed four top integrators who all had successful RMR programs, about the trials and tribulations of establishing that program…and the benefits they derived from it.

In researching RMR programs, I learned that they are much more than a revenue stream – they literally redefine the relationship with the client. I had uncovered more than I expected…so much more…

A new Strata-SERIES on RMR programs – redefining the client relationship… Continue reading