An announcement recently appeared on an audio enthusiast website that appears to announce the sale of Audio Research Corp. to a Canadian high-end speaker manufacturer. However, when reached for confirmation of this news, the officially appointed receiver issued a terse “no comment.”
So IS Audio Research Corp sold?
The continuing saga of Audio Research Corp. (ARC) has taken a new and interesting twist. Late on Wednesday, the Tracking Angle – an audio enthusiast website – ran what appeared to be a formal press release announcing the sale of Audio Research Corp. to Valerio Cora, founder of Acora Acoustics Corporation, a manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers based in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.
This announcement appears to end a big industry mystery of what was going to happen with ARC. Or does it?
A New Corporation is Created for ‘Guiding the Audio Research Brand’
According to that announcement, which used some interesting wording, Cora will head “a new independent corporation dedicated to guiding the Audio Research brand toward a future that will grow its strengths and legacy.”
Although it doesn’t specifically say Cora or Acora Acoustics is acquiring ARC, that is the clear intimation. The announcement goes on to add:
Our primary objective is simple yet profound: to continuously advance the art of audio reproduction while preserving the esteemed heritage and unwavering commitment to uncompromising quality that has become synonymous with this remarkable and prestigious brand.Tracking Angle – Excerpt from Valerio Cora of Acora Acoustics Corporation to Lead New Corporation for Audio Research Brand
We Learn About Cora, But Not About His Plan
The announcement – which is unusually written in the first-person (perhaps written by Cora himself?) – goes on to talk about Cora’s “leadership,” his “extensive experience” and his “unwavering passion for audio excellence.” It thanks Audio Research founder Bill Johnson “for his vision and groundbreaking contributions” and says Audio Research will be run as a separate entity. This apparently means Audio Research will be kept separate from Acora Acoustics.
But it was what the release didn’t say that immediately caught my attention. It does not say if ARC will remain in Minnesota, or if it will be exported to Canada. It does not mention any terms of the deal or if there are financing partners (e.g. private equity). In fact, it never EXPLICITLY says that Cora or Acora Acoustics is acquiring Audio Research.
No Mention of or Participation by the Minn. Court, the Assignee, Or Anyone at ARC
But most surprising to me is the fact that this supposedly official announcement makes no mention of, nor contains any participation by – the Minnesota Court system, Lighthouse Management Group (the court-approved receiver), or anyone directly connected to Audio Research Corp. In other words, the apparent “buyer” in this situation is purportedly announcing to the world that he “will be at the helm of a new independent corporation,” but the “seller” has not participated in that announcement at all.
So I did what I think most reporters would do, I reached out to Patrick Finn, a partner in the Lighthouse Management Group who is the designated “assignee” running Audio Research Corp., which is currently operating, with Minnesota court approval, under Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors. I simply sought confirmation that a deal is in fact done.
Does the Assignee Confirm ARC is Sold…’No Comment’
Finn’s response? A terse “No Comment.”
Finn went on to suggestively add that I watch for further filings with the courthouse document system. So what do I think is going on here?
I think it is no accident that Cora’s release was posted late in the day yesterday. As I had mentioned in an earlier post, Wednesday was the day a court hearing was scheduled to discuss issues surrounding the assignment process. We knew that at this point, the assignee – Flynn – had acknowledged in previous filings that, “Several parties have shown interest in acquiring the Assignment Property…”
Anything Can Happen
So perhaps Cora was a finalist in the competition to acquire ARC and a positive reception at the court hearing motivated him to trumpet his apparent success. Or maybe there is another unknown at play here. However, it is likely that the deal is not yet done – which would explain Flynn’s cryptic “no comment” response to a request to confirm the announced deal.
So Cora may have jumped the gun. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with upcoming court filings. In the meantime, I would take the announcement with a grain of salt. If I am correct and the deal is not yet done, then, well as my lawyer friend likes to tell me about court dealings…until the final deal is signed, sealed, and delivered – anything can happen.
Learn More Here
See the story on Tracking Angle at this link…
Learn more about Acora Acoustics at acoraacoustics.com.
Everything Audio Research is at audioresearch.com.
Michael Fremer says
Your post is full of speculation. Perhaps you should have spoken to Cora. A real “reporter” would have, before posting dark speculation about Mr. Cora who put out the press release about which you’ve made the object of your speculation. Why would the person you contacted say anything to you? Who are you in all of this? You have taken that person’s “no comment” and larded it with speculation. Mr. Cora assured me he would not jeopardize this deal by jumping the gun. But you chose to not contact him because it afforded you juicy click bait. That’s my speculation.
That’s quite a hissy fit, my friend. A defensive diatribe of the highest order.
You want to stake your journalistic integrity on that post? Really??? Is it your assertion that real reporters simply publish press releases as news without performing any fact checking at all? Without asking questions and plugging openings in a poorly written release with many factual holes? Without making any effort at confirming through other sources and channels that what you are publishing is in fact accurate?
If I’m going to fact check what Cora is claiming, I’m NOT going to go to him…I’m going to go to the other parties of the transaction to confirm that what he is saying is, in fact, accurate. Fact checking a source by simply going back to the same source and asking him if he is accurate may be your process, but not mine.
And while you are correct that my post did contain some speculation, that was made clearly obvious. Your post contained speculation as well, but that was not made obvious.
You played the click bait game…I went to fact checking. Your readers deserve better…
THANKS for sharing your thoughts!
Michael Fremer says
And by the way, Mr. Cora’s email address is right there in the press release I posted, making your entire post look pretty foolish and your “I’m a real reporter so I”, doubly so.
First, please engage in some basic fact-checking. I never said – as you erroneously report here – “I’m a real reporter so I”…
Second, keep working on your insults…you’ll get better at it I’m sure.
Don’t worry Ted. I am only speculating here, but I think Mikey is apparently engaging in some retroactive CYA and/or face saving after having possibly “jumped the gun” by running the release. Maybe he scooped this, and maybe he didn’t. Time will ultimately tell, but his sharp post and retort hints at maybe someone getting a little too big of a lead off first base. Just my two cents…
Thanks James. I’m not worried…I stand by my story.
All Fremer does is insult, if you don’t agree with the old dude, he’s gets into a huff. Long past his use by date. What a tool, he is. Facts, never stopped Fremer from spewing anything. No wonder they finally got tired of him at Stereophile….
The quick answer to the caption is, Not Yet.
The court has not approved a finalized solution. That is why Judicial Officer: Burke, Susan N. has requested submissions be presented at the next hearing set for 06/07/2023.
The “press release” was premature. The response from the appointed Receiver was professional and appropriate considering this case is still in litigation.
Steve H says
Michael was wrong about MQA and kept promoting it until entering administration forced him to stop. Wrong about Mobile Fidelity. Joined the Absolute Sound. Then jumped the gun on Audio Research. I think he is having a bad stretch.
I do these kinds of transactions under far friendly conditions, and it takes time to complete them. This case is in the Minnesota court system, and we should wait until something is filed before we comment.
That said I hope they have done their homework on the current market for Audio Research products. You and I are having enough trouble getting a handle on the overall market demand for audio products in the next couple of quarters.
John Stone says
I posted about this in the previous article about ARC. The movement in tube amplifiers has, for the past decade or more, been more about nostalgia than performance. Much of what you see in modern tube amps is throwbacks to old Williamson and Hafler circuits, even using old octal type tubes in the driver stages and vacuum tube rectifiers. Then you have the SET amplifiers that put out almost no power at very high distortion levels. Audio Research was never about this. The company was formed on the notion that tubes were technically superior amplifying devices vs transistors, and that combining them with modern technology that included solid state devices in supporting roles, would bring you higher performance and better sound quality than what was available in solid state equipment of the day. The use of the term “Hi Definition” pretty much said it all.
But the high end audio electronics scene today is far different from where it was in the 1970s. Solid state technology has advanced dramatically, while vacuum tube technology has largely stayed stagnant. It’s much harder to make the case of superior sound quality from vacuum tubes in 2023 than it was in 1973. Maybe there’s still a market out there for such products, but the overall market is far more crowded with very highly regarded solid state gear along with the ever advancing performance of class D amplifiers.
Fremer is wrong on most everything, he goes along with the shilling, and cashes checks. He is technically a fool, and just spews nonsense. Wonder what the real reason Stereophile finally fired him? Hmmm. He endorsed the Mobile Fidelity junk, for years, turns out, he was clueless on that too. What a buffed loon. He claims things that are nonsense.