More on the Onkyo/Gibson partnership
Last week, we learned that Gibson and Onkyo were negotiating a deal that would see the legendary guitar manufacturer purchase a stake in Onkyo Japan and acquire a majority interest in Onkyo USA to become the second largest shareholder in Onkyo Corporation. Near the end of show hours on a brisk Tuesday evening, a small group of reporters were invited aboard Gibson’s luxury bus for a bit of freedom from the Convention Center chaos and to learn more about the merger.
Gibson’s Chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz (above left), explained that his company had been looking to expand into the home audio market for quite some time. Onkyo proved an ideal partner, as the two brands share “the same cultural wavelength,” as cited in mutual clients such as Best Buy, Amazon, and J&R Electronics, as well as the obvious shared interest in music and technology. Meanwhile, Onkyo’s President and CEO, Munenori Otsuki (above right), expressed his company’s interest in alleviating the difficulty of expanding and reinventing its brand image. Through Gibson’s marketing prowess and creative, innovative spirit, Onkyo would be poised to work outside of its typical product categories. While no new products were announced, it seems logical to expect iPod- and other portable audio-related devices.
In last week’s press release the point was made clear that Onkyo USA would become a part of Gibson’s Pro Audio division, which raised the question (at least in my mind) of whether there was any concern about alienating existing customers. After all, Onkyo does not share the same market space as Gibson’s other recent pro audio acquisitions, KRK, Stanton, and Cerwin-Vega. Juszkiewicz shrugged at the notion, explaining that the pro audio label would be merely for accounting purposes, invisible to the end user, and would have no affect on brand perception.
“We aren’t rebranding [Onkyo] because the brand is already great,” Juszkiewicz said. “We’re just telling the world how great it is.”
The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of January.