Updated: Denon and Marantz parent group Sound United in talks to 'buy' Bowers & Wilkins

Sound United, the parent company of Denon and Marantz – plus Polk Audio, Boston Acoustics, Classe and Definitive Technology – has announced a 'preliminary letter of intent' to acquire audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins.

The proposed move remains subject to 'ongoing discussions' and regulatory approval.

Last year, a deal that would have seen Sound United snap up the Onkyo, Pioneer and Integra home audio brands from Onkyo Corporation fell through before completion.

Earlier, in 2018, Sound United acquired the Classe brand from Bowers & Wilkins.

Says Sound United Keith Duffy of the proposed B&W deal: 'Over the course of five decades Bowers & Wilkins built one of the most prestigious brands in the global speaker market with industry-leading acoustical engineering, iconic design and marketing.

'B&W is a transformative brand and we look forward to the opportunity to finalize the transaction. This reflects Sound United’s unwavering focus to achieve its mission of bringing joy to the world through sound.'

However, since news of the proposed deal was released by Sound United late on Friday, Bowers & Wilkins itself has responded and suggests the nature of the 'transaction' is a little different than claimed.

'Bowers & Wilkins, one of the most widely respected names in premium performance audio, has begun early stage talks with Sound United LLC, parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, HEOS, Classé and Boston Acoustics to explore opportunities for the two businesses to combine,' said the company in an official statement.

'Discussions between Bowers & Wilkins and Sound United are at an early stage with a view to consolidating our premium brands into a new group offering even better consumer opportunities,' added B&W CEO Geoff Edwards.

'If our discussions are successful, combining Bowers & Wilkins’ engineering and manufacturing expertise in the premium category with the breadth of resources and capability of Sound United could certainly be a transformative step for both brands. It would allow the Bowers & Wilkins team even greater opportunities to focus on what we do best – building the industry’s finest loudspeakers.'

B&W also says that 'should the two brands decide to move forward' Sound United would acquire 'worldwide third-party distribution and licensing agreements under which Bowers & Wilkins premium audio products are currently sold.'

'This does not affect any of the existing Bowers & Wilkins product portfolio or any of the products Bowers & Wilkins currently distributes or current global operations.'

Bowers & Wilkins began making loudspeakers in 1966. Its current lineup includes the 800 Series Diamond, 700 Series and 600 Series speakers, Formation Suite of multiroom speakers/electronics, custom install speakers, DB subwoofers, and headphones.