Klipsch Group Acquires API

On August 15, Klipsch Group, Inc. announced the acquisition of Canadian firm Audio Products International Corp. (API), one of the largest speaker manufacturers in the world. API, which makes loudspeakers under the Mirage, Energy, Spherez, Sound Dynamics, and Athena Technologies brands, was founded in 1973 and is sold in over 50 countries worldwide. Klipsch, which makes speakers under the Klipsch marque as well as Jamo, was founded in 1946 by legendary speaker designer Paul W. Klipsch and has become "the largest stand-alone speaker manufacturer in the US."

Fred Klipsch, the Klipsch Group's CEO, said, "We are excited about the acquisition of API. The acquisition will strengthen both brands without diluting the heritage and quality that both companies are renowned for worldwide. API will continue to develop and deliver added-value offerings to all of our customers in the audio products industry."

That's standard press release happy-talk, of course, but even Klipsch's competitors see the move as one that benefits both companies. "Klipsch has been going blockbusters in the specialty audio business for the last 10 years," the sales manager of a competing loudspeaker company confided to Stereophile. "They've been so successful that they really have only two strategies for continued growth: sell speakers that don't have the name Klipsch on them, and sell speakers outside the US. The API acquisition allows them to do both—without diluting either brand or sacrificing core values of quality and performance."

API also offers Klipsch access to its R&D facilities (and those of Canada's National Research Council), a not-inconsiderable benefit for the technology-driven loudspeaker company. Klipsch's acquisition press release alludes to that, saying, "Klipsch, Jamo, and API brand teams will work in a cooperative fashion to develop global technology platforms and product strategies that leverage investments in R&D, insuring the Klipsch group of brands stay on the cutting edge of product, technology, and brand development."

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