TI Completes Burr-Brown Takeover; BA Names New Prez.; Davis, BMG in Joint Venture

Late August news bites: Texas Instruments announced August 25 the completion of its acquisition of chipmaker Burr-Brown Corporation in a stock swap. Burr-Brown is highly regarded in the audio industry for its low-noise, high-speed digital/analog converters and digital signal-processing (DSP) ICs. The company also makes ultra-high-quality analog components, a segment of the semiconductor industry expected to grow by 25% in the coming year, according to industry analyst Dataquest.

The Burr-Brown takeover is part of a larger strategy by Texas Instruments to offer a wider range of designs to its customers and to integrate the products of specialty manufacturers. Burr-Brown is especially noted for the expertise of its analog designers, and will continue to operate from its headquarters in Tucson, Arizona.

Loudspeaker manufacturer Boston Acoustics has named Moses A. Gabbay as the company's new president and chief operating officer, according to a press release dated August 24. Bob Spaner will become executive vice president.

A company veteran with more than 20 years of service, Gabbay was previously VP of engineering. He directed the growth of BA's multimedia audio business, which in the past three years has grown to equal the size of the corporation's home- and car-audio divisions. In his new position, Gabbay will also oversee the financial and manufacturing ends of the business. "Moses assembled the engineering team to develop leading-edge products that have put Boston Acoustics in the forefront of the computer-audio business," said chairman and CEO Andy Kotsatos. "As a result, the company now has skill sets we didn't have three years ago, and we can offer products to reach new markets in and beyond our traditional audio speaker business."

A 12-year company veteran, Bob Spaner has worked as field sales manager, national sales manager, and VP of sales and marketing. As executive VP he will administer BA's marketing and sales efforts. "During Bob's tenure here, sales have more than quintupled, to $108 million last year," said Kotsatos. Of the Gabbay-Spaner team, Kotsatos said, "Moses and Bob have not only grown with the company, they have led that growth. We want to take advantage of their experience and team-building expertise as we head into the next phase of our company."

Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) announced August 24 that it has entered a joint venture with former Arista Records chief Clive Davis. BMG will put in between $150 and $175 million to create a record company, to be called J Records, which will release its first album in October. Davis will co-own the company, despite the fact that BMG is fronting the capital. Davis's contribution is "his talent and hard work," according to BMG chief executive Strauss Zelnick. Arista was created by Davis in the mid-1970s and became one of the dominant labels in pop music; the company came under the BMG umbrella during a wave of acquisitions.

News of the venture comes two months after BMG declined to renew Davis's contract, naming producer Antonio Reid as his successor. A conglomerate based in Germany, BMG has a mandatory retirement age of 65, and Davis is 67. Some Arista artists and a half-dozen Arista executives will join Davis in the new venture, including former general manager Charles Goldstuck, who will be president and chief operating officer of J Records. Top talents Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana will stay with Arista, but Davis will likely continue producing their recordings, the announcement stated. Davis has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of retiring from the business he loves.