The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulatory unit, after a 17-month investigation of online price fixing and other illegal anti-competitive practices has levied a fine of €111.2 million ($130 million) against four prominent consumer electronics brands, including Pioneer Corp., D&M Holdings Inc. of Japan, Koninklijke Philips NV of the Netherlands, and AsusTek Computer, Inc. of Taiwan. The companies were alleged to have imposed fixed or minimum online prices for their products.
With all that’s going on in the world of politics – or perhaps because of what’s going on in the world of politics – two senators are calling for an investigation of the Smart TV industry, citing concerns about a potential compromise of privacy for users of which they are unaware. This move is in response to news that emerged a few weeks back suggesting that Smart TV makers were tracking users viewing, unbeknownst to them.
What are Smart TV makers doing to get Congress riled up?… [Read more…] about Senators Call for Govt. Investigation of Smart TV Industry
In Restructuring, Company Scales Back to ‘Core Competencies’
All the way back in 2012, Onkyo Corp. and Gibson Guitar Corp. came together to partner in what both hoped would become an entity where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. Just months after their announcement, Onkyo forged ties to another Japanese audio brand, Teac/Tascam – just as Gibson stepped in to buy a majority share of them…and the combined entity began to grow.
Little did they know that just six short years later, Gibson, the investor in Onkyo, would implode into bankruptcy – forced to extricate itself from its Onkyo aspirations. Onkyo was hit as well, losing its Gibson investment – forcing them to reassess their direction. We now learn that Onkyo has sold off its entire European operations to an accessory distributor known as Aqipa GmbH.
See more on this surprising announcement by Onkyo… [Read more…] about Gibson Investment Gone, Onkyo Sells Off European Operations
TPVision, a principal licensor of the Philips brand of upscale TVs in Europe, announced today that is has partnered with Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) in a new multi-year agreement for a new line of products representing the finest in video and audio quality. The announcement noted the reputation both companies enjoy for excellence in engineering and suggests this partnership will set a new reference standard for visual and audio performance in televisions.
See more on this announcement from Philips and B&W… [Read more…] about TPVision and B&W Partner on New Philips TVs
Gibson, as Strata-gee previously reported, filed for bankruptcy protection on May 1st in a pre-negotiated package with principal noteholders of the company’s substantial debt – debt that was now in default. But while that deal suggested a smooth path for the case through the bankruptcy court, it did not take into account the position of unsecured creditors, and especially Philips who describes itself as the largest unsecured creditor in the matter.
See more on the discord in Gibson’s bankruptcy proceedings… [Read more…] about Gibson Hits a Sour Note with Philips & Creditors
We have been closely following – first Gibson Guitar and then Gibson Brands – from their decision in 2012 to shoot for the stars by using OPM (other people’s money) to make highly leveraged…and highly questionable…acquisitions of various consumer electronics brands (a category in which the CEO and his team had no experience) to their recent 2018 bankruptcy. Gibson was trying to diversify their musical instrument business into something that now former CEO Henry Juszkiewicz called a music lifestyle brand. Instead, they wound up in bankruptcy.
Let’s look at what some of the numbers in the Gibson filings reveal… [Read more…] about Painting the Gibson Bankruptcy by the Numbers
Hundreds of Employees Facing Pink Slips
Gibson Brands, a major provider of musical instrument and consumer electronics products, is in the midst of a widely reported liquidity crisis. With more than $500 million dollars in notes coming due late this summer, the company is seeking a knight in shining armor to ride in on a white horse with a big bag of money to refinance the company’s crushing debt.
To make the company appear attractive to a lender or investor, at the end of February the company sold off its shuttered Cakewalk division and laid off about 15 employees from its famous Custom Shop. Now we learn the company is planning more substantial layoffs across the board.
See more on this latest development at Gibson… [Read more…] about Gibson, After Light Pruning, Plans Global Layoffs
Downsizing Factory & Dilution of Onkyo Ownership
Recent developments have thrust Gibson Brands back into the spotlight once again – a spot that CEO Henry Juszkiewicz doesn’t particularly enjoy, unless he’s there on his own terms. But this time, two tidbits of news have conspired to bring Gibson, and their financial challenges to the fore. And as we try to digest all of this, it’s clear that Gibson is continuing to show signs of strain due to sluggish results from its aggressive diversification into consumer electronics jeopardizing its ability to deal with looming huge debt payments on the loans used to acquire CE brands.
See the news that shines a light on Gibson’s troubled financial position… [Read more…] about Gibson Brands Continues to Show Signs of Strain
Moody’s Hits Gibson Brands with Another Credit Downgrade
Moody’s Investors Service, one of the largest credit rating services in the world, has downgraded the credit rating for Gibson Brands, the Nashville-based parent of Gibson Guitar, Onkyo, Teac, KRK, Philips, Stanton and more. Moody’s has set their rating on Gibson Brands debt to Caa3, down one step from Caa2.
The move caused Wall Street investment analyst The Street to raise the specter of the possibility of Gibson Brands defaulting on their debt.
See why Moody’s says the Gibson Brands situation is unsustainable… [Read more…] about Is Gibson Brands Headed for a Default?
“Yeah, Ken Furst…he can be a bit of an acquired taste,” a mutual acquaintance once said rather euphemistically as he described Ken Furst to me several years ago. I had just met Ken as a competitor, in a verbal exchange rich with no small amount of taunting and extreme sarcasm. Or as Ken would probably describe it, in an exchange of friendly banter and wry humor. The better I got to know Ken over the ensuing years, the more I realized his version of that exchange was probably more accurate than mine.
Ken Furst died peacefully in his sleep this past Saturday night, December 17th. He was way-too-young at only 66 years old.