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Businesses

Samsung To Acquire Connected Car Firm Harman For $8 Billion (thestack.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung has announced its plans to buy car tech company Harman International for $8 billion, marking the largest ever overseas deal by a South Korean firm. The electronics giant is to purchase the connected car systems company in a push to strengthen its efforts in emerging areas as its smartphone business slows. "Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time," said Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon. Samsung confirmed that it will acquire the Connecticut-based company for $112 per share in cash, representing a premium of 28% based on Harman's closing stock price on 11th November.
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Samsung To Acquire Connected Car Firm Harman For $8 Billion

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  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mikkeles ( 698461 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @11:37AM (#53281795)

    Now we can have exploding cars!

    • Samsung car suck, but have good aircons - number one deciding factor above everything else in Korea. Vladivostokians do appreciate that too.

      Samsung SM5 with Nissan's turbo MR engine option, was, somehow, rather good

  • Harman?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @11:44AM (#53281901) Journal

    Frankly, my opinion of that company isn't too high these days....

    Harman is whatever's left of various mergers or bankruptcies over the years. But everything I've seen in a car with their name on it was trashy quality car audio that was clearly designed to meet some arbitrarily low price point instead of actually caring that consumers had a true "premium" stereo.

    EG. The Chrysler Crossfire came with a Harman-Becker radio and amp. The system used small subwoofers as the rear two speakers, and put full range components in the doors for the front. They didn't use a proper crossover in the circuit though, so everything sounded relatively muddy, or alternately, the rear subs barely ever fired if you adjusted it to be "treble heavy". Many of the Crossfire owners I know had these head units go bad on them too, over the years. So yeah, the cars are around 10-12 years old now -- but still, the stereo didn't last as long as the rest of the electronics in many of them.

    • Harman is the upgrade alternative for most auto manufacturers over the standard radio. The other major supplier is Bose, which often uses inferior (more efficient but higher distortion) switching amplifiers.

      Harman has accumulated many brands including JBL, and if the whole company is going to become part of Samsung it's a disaster for the American audio industry.

      I worked for Harman for a few years and the high levels of management considered the employees to be serfs. In that regard, it's hard to see how Sa

  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @11:47AM (#53281939)

    I interviewed with Harman (I have a couple of ex-colleagues who work there) and Red Bend a while back. It's not a bad acquisition for Samsung, and will give them more than a foot in the door with automotive technologies. Some of the tech (particularly Red Bend's OTA update tech) is transferable to mobile devices, as well.

  • Talk about a dumb move. Harman is an overbloated company that basically only knows about audio. I seriously question Samsung's judgment. Samsung needs to get on the driverless car or sensor chip bandwagon,. They should be buying sensor companies such as Triquint (which makes automotive radar chips) or companies like Mobileye, Invensense, or Omnivision.

    • Harman is a big player in the audio industry (an industry I work in). The industry as a whole is a solid $90 billion annually - and Harman is one of the big boys in that market. It's a solid acquisition for a massive consumer electronics conglomerate who wants to further integrate your entire life (home, mobile, auto, etc.).
  • ... systems (I wonder if they will still do home audio) will end up in the shitter.

  • Car Tech? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 )

    It seems the article writer has no clue who Harmon is.

    Harmon of Harmon Kardon, has been an audio company for decades, they have been buying up pro and commercial audio companies for a decade and last year acquired the AMX automation company.

    Car stuff is one of the smallest parts of their business.

    • Just not all under the Harman brand. A lot of car navigation systems and radios are from Harman (Daimler, VW, Audi, Chrysler, etc)
    • That's not true at all. The car and "Connected Technologies" portion of the company is their LARGEST section. The pro audio/video stuff is insignificant. I was actually just down at AMX in Richardson a few months ago. Harman has a TON of software developers and a lot of IP. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they split up and tried to sell a lot of those Pro A/V companies. I can't imagine a JBL speaker being branded Samsung and I don't know of any Samsung companies where they do not use the Samsung n
      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        Harman has a penchant for dropping old tech out the window when it no longer serves them*. I guess this won't change under Samsung.

        *: I have a $3.9k Lexicon receiver in my living room, which was designed and built under Harman before they shifted Lexicon's name completely to the pro-audio side of the business. The software is very buggy in many ways that are obvious and which would be trivial to fix, and appears to be of beta quality at best. I emailed them about this and actually found a thoughtful per

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      No it appears you don't. According to their most recent quarterly results out of $1.7 billion sales that:

      "Connected car" = $797 million
      "Lifestyle audio" = $568 million
      "Professional solutions" = $240 million
      "Connected services" = $167 million

      So, no, their "car stuff" is not the smallest part of their business. It is the largest part at 45% of their quarterly net sales.

  • So long, AKG, JBL.. it was nice knowing you and owning some of your products over the years.. and enjoying some behind-the-movie-screen* without ever seeing them.

    I fear for the future of these two brands. They still offer genuine pro-quality performance and worry that Samsung won't respect the heritage of both names and encourage growth and R&D for improving the breed.

    Both are the real deal, not audiophile voodoo. And for the record, plenty of audiophiles use AKG and JBL (And Klipsch, and old Altec

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      I swear by my AKG cans. They are not the best or most expensive, but with a clean amp sound incredible.
    • That's OK, I still have my MonsterCable-connected Beats by Dre

      • What? Go old skool and get some of the original "Beats by Dre by Monster" units, back when the first few years ALL the Beats products were designed-and-built by Monster. Then you can have Monster on your Monster, yo!
  • This is the path for a glowing success in Samsung's searing march ahead toward rekindling customer enthusiasm.
  • Samsung car suck, but have good aircons - number one deciding factor above everything else in Korea. Vladivostokians do appreciate it too.

    Samsung SM5 with Nissan's turbo MR engine option, was, somehow, rather good

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