Ultralink/XLO Buyout

Like the companies in most high-tech industries, audio businesses are a volatile lot, with startups, mergers, acquisitions—and the occasional bankruptcy or flame-out—not uncommon. In that ongoing tradition, at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ultralink Products announced on January 7 its intention to purchase the assets of cable manufacturer XLO Electric.

Last week, Ultralink, which itself manufactures audio and home-theater cables and interconnects, revealed that it has finalized its operating plans in light of its purchase of the assets of XLO Electric. Ultralink says it has now acquired the worldwide usage rights to the XLO brand, along with assets including inventory and intellectual property. To allow for this expansion, Ultralink says, it has obtained additional manufacturing space adjacent to its existing facilities in Southern California.

As part of the deal, the companies say, XLO's founder and chief designer, Roger Skoff, will continue to design the brand's products and supervise its assembly craftspeople from the combined facility. According to Ultralink's Allen L Sung, "Roger Skoff and his team of craftsmen have led the pursuit for perfection in audio and video imaging for over a decade. His proprietary treatments, passion, and knowledge should prove to be a valuable asset for years to come. Ultralink will provide a strong foundation for XLO and its clients to continue this pursuit."

Ultralink points to two new lines which will soon be available ("Unlimited" and "Signature 2") as further evidence of its investment in the XLO brand. The company says that the Unlimited group is best described as having most of the performance of XLO's top "Limited Edition" line at roughly half the price. Signature 2 is an update of XLO's 1992 Signature line, which Ultralink claims is used extensively by speaker and audio component designers around the world.

Along with current custom and specialist distribution, XLO's current product groups—Limited Edition, Reference 2, Ultra, VDO/PRO, and CDA—will stay in place. Ultralink says its own Platinum, Advanced Performance, Matrix, and Challenger product series have been unaffected by the acquisition and will continue to be manufactured in Canada.

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