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Bang & Olufsen

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Bang & Olufsen A/S
Company typePublic
Nasdaq CopenhagenBO B
Founded1925; 99 years ago (1925)
HeadquartersStruer, Denmark
Key people
ProductsHigh-end audio
RevenueIncrease 2.63 billion kr. (2021)[1]
Total assetsIncrease 2.28 billion kr. (2021)[1]
Total equityIncrease 1.13 billion kr. (2021)[1]
Number of employees
947 (2021)[1]

Bang & Olufsen (B&O) is a Danish high-end consumer electronics company that designs and manufactures audio products, television sets, and telephones, originally from Denmark, founded in 1925 by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, who designed a radio to work with alternating current, a product of significance at a time when most radios were still running on batteries. Bang & Olufsen are also known for contributing to make speakers for Ford cars such as the Ford Puma.


Early history[edit]

B&O's factory in Struer 1938.
Bang Olufsen Beovision Televisions Avant & MX5000
Bang Olufsen Beocom 1401 telephone

Peter Bang (1900–1957), son of Camillo Bang, a successful Danish businessman, showed great interest in radio technology from an early age. After graduating as an engineer in 1924, he spent six months working in a radio factory in the USA. When he returned to Denmark, he collaborated with his friend Svend Olufsen (1897–1949), whose parents made the attic of their manor house in Struer in Jutland available for experiments. When they officially opened their business in 1925, Bang focused on the technology while Olufsen was dealing with business. There were a number of successful developments in the 1930s and 1940s, including a sound recording system for the film industry, roof-mounted loudspeakers for circuses and army vehicles, and the iconic Beolit 39 radio that featured a Bakelite cabinet.

Beolit 39 from 1938, B&O's first radio in Bakelite

However, it was many years before their business became significantly profitable. The firm suffered a major setback towards the end of World War II when its factory at Gimsing in Struer in northwestern Jutland was burnt down by pro-Nazi saboteurs as a punishment for the management's refusal to team up with the Germans. Undeterred, Bang and Olufsen rebuilt the factory, and they produced electric razors until 1955, and then moving on to develop a range of radio, radiogram, and television sets, that was influenced later by a designer named Ib Fabiansen who began work for the company in 1957.[2]

In the 1990s, B&O opened its dedicated stores, selling directly to customers but not selling through retailers, and the production of audio separates was discontinued in favor of mini-type audio systems sold, as was before for B&O, at a price that was higher than the industry average.

Recent history[edit]

Because of the economic crisis of 2008 the company experienced a sharp decline in sales and announced significant losses; between 2008 and 2009, annual revenue declined from $853 million to $528 million, and its stock price dropped from $52 to $8.50.[3] A restructuring plan included 300 layoffs in Denmark on 21 October 2008, and the abandonment of development of new mobile phones, MP3 players, and standalone systems like DVD2 and HDR2. Instead, the company focused on its traditional strengths: high-quality audio and video products as well as sound systems for the automotive industry.[4] B&O returned to profitability in 2010.

In January 2015, B&O revealed that the firm would consider bid approaches from competitors due to a profit warning issued at the end of 2014.[5]

In March 2015, HP Inc. announced that B&O would become the company's new premium audio partner for its computers and other devices after Beats takeover by Apple.[6]

In May 2015, Harman International announced the completion of its acquisition of Bang & Olufsen's car audio business.[7]

In March 2017, Tymphany, an audio ODM based in Hong Kong and with manufacturing operations in Dongchen, announced the acquisition of the engineering and manufacturing operation in the Czech Republic from Bang & Olufsen.[8][9]

In Aug 2017, LG announced that B&O would become the company's new premium audio partner for its mobile devices.

In January 2020, Bang & Olufsen A/S reported its third consecutive quarterly loss as the Danish hi-fi maker struggled with a buildup of inventory after consumers balked at buying $500 headphones.[10]

Operations and products[edit]

Despite its decision to suspend the manufacture of separate components, B&O continues to develop and market loudspeakers. Its flagship speaker, the BeoLab 5, uses digital signal processing to adjust its frequency response to the room and location in which it is placed. Its midrange and treble drivers use the audio lens technology developed by Sausalito Audio's Manny LaCarrubba to spread the sound over a 180-degree range in order to fill the room, overcoming the directional range limitations of normal midrange and treble drivers, and preventing the sound from reflecting off the ceiling and floor before reaching the listener. B&O later acquired the audio lens technology in 2007.

In 2003, B&O entered into an agreement with Audi to provide an advanced sound system[11] and in 2005 a sound system based on the BeoLab 5 with 1000 W amplifiers became available to Audi's flagship model, the A8.[12] Audi markets this sound system using the Bang & Olufsen brand name. A unique feature of this sound system is its motorized tweeters that emerge from the dashboard when the sound system is turned on.

Tweeter in a third-generation Audi A8

Audi also extended the optional advanced sound system to their A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, TT and R8 models. It is a US$6,300 option on the A8/Q7.[13] B&O also supplies sound systems for higher-end, premium vehicles such as the Aston Martin DBS, Rapide, BMW 5 Series, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, BMW 6 Series, BMW M6, BMW's flagship 7 Series, BMW X5,[14] and Mercedes-Benz AMG models.[15] Also, Ford has begun to replace the Sony sound systems in their vehicles with B&O PLAY audio systems in new models, such as the revised 2018 F-150 and the 2019 Ranger.[16][17]

In addition to consumer products the company also produces business-to-business services, particularly in the area of custom audio-visual installations for car manufacturers, and the hospitality industry. Additionally the company's expertise in aluminium manufacturing is available to other businesses for the production of non-B&O products.[18]


B&O has a distinctive design appeal that Wired described as "quality media delivery via striking objects".[3] Their work with radios and loudspeakers led them to value high-fidelity musical reproduction uninfluenced by technological limitations; in Danish Ærlig musikgengivelse, meaning "honest music reproduction". To this end, psychoacoustics was important to designing and testing B&O products.[citation needed]

By 1960, B&O had begun its foray into global markets with star designers Henning Moldenhawer and Jacob Jensen,[3] who designed 234 products[a] for B&O from 1965 to 1985.[b] B&O hires designers rather than directly employing them in the company.[20] David Lewis, who became involved with B&O in 1965 then went on to design most of the company's products after 1980.[citation needed] In 1978, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City held an exhibition dedicated to Bang & Olufsen designs.[21] It is known to give its designers a lot of free rein.[3]

It also has been debated that Apple's iPod design was inspired by B&O's BeoCom 6000, a wireless telephone designed by Henrik Sørig Thomsen with a wheel to scroll.[22]


  • ICEpower a/s was formed in 1999 as a joint venture between B&O and Karsten Nielsen. The company is a technology research and design organization working in the field of switching type Class-D amplifier.[23]
  • Bang & Olufsen Medicom a/s manufacturers and designs medical products such as inhalers and automatic syringes.[24]
  • Bang & Olufsen Telecom a/s.
  • B&O PLAY[25] is the newest member of the Bang & Olufsen family launched in 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jensen designed 234 products for the company"[19]
  2. ^ "His work for Danish company Bang & Olufsen (1965-1985)"[19]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2020/21: 01 June 2020 – 31 May 2021". ml-eu.globenewswire.com.
  2. ^ "The true story behind Bang and Olufsen", William Schwark, Scanorama, November 2007
  3. ^ a b c d Walker, Rob (September 27, 2011). "Can the Cult of Bang & Olufsen Last?". Wired.
  4. ^ Bang & Olufsen rolls out strategy plan Archived 2008-11-16 at the Wayback Machine bang-olufsen.com
  5. ^ "Denmark's Bang & Olufsen would listen to bid approaches", Reuters, 5 January 2015
  6. ^ "HP makes Bang & Olufsen its new audio partner". CNET. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  7. ^ "HARMAN Completes Acquisition of Bang & Olufsen's Automotive Audio Business". HARMAN Newsroom. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  8. ^ "B & O Sells Czech Factory to Tymphany". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  9. ^ "Global Operations". Tymphany. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  10. ^ "Bang & Olufsen Struggles to Sell $15,000 TV Sets". Bloomberg.com. 2020-01-14. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  11. ^ Holt, Julie Ring-Hansen (25 October 2006). "Seks ud af ti nye Audier fødes med B&O-anlæg" [Six out of ten new Audis are born with Bang & Olufsen system] (in Danish). Mediehuset Ingeniøren A/S. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  12. ^ Krøyer, Kent (13 March 2005). "Audi med indbygget koncertsal fra B&O" [Audi with built in concert hall from B&O] (in Danish). Mediehuset Ingeniøren A/S. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Audi Glossary". Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  14. ^ "BMW - Bang & Olufsen". Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
  15. ^ Mercedes AMG S-class"mercedes-amg.com
  16. ^ Abuelsamid, Sam. "B&O Play Audio Systems To Replace Sony In Ford Vehicles In 2017". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  17. ^ "2018 Ford® F-150 Limited Truck | Model Highlights | Ford.com". www.ford.com. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  18. ^ Bang & Olufsen - Business to Business Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine bang-olufsen.com
  19. ^ a b Bagner, Alex (May 2007). "Remote access". Wallpaper (99). IPC Media: 264–270. ISSN 1364-4475. OCLC 948263254.
  20. ^ "10 classic jacob jensen gadgets".
  21. ^ "Elegant Design of Sound Equipment Focus of MoMA Show" (PDF). Museum of Modern Art. March 1978.
  22. ^ "Apple's Inspiration For The iPod? Bang & Olufsen". fastdesign.com, November 2013.
  23. ^ "ICEpower – Class D OEM audio amplifiers". Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2005-09-08.
  24. ^ Bang & Olufsen Medicom Archived 2009-04-04 at the Wayback Machine medicom.bang-olufsen.com
  25. ^ "Bang & Olufsen - High-end Headphones, Speakers, and Televisions". www.bang-olufsen.com.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bang, Jens (2005). From Spark to Icon. Denmark: Bang & Olufsen. ISBN 87-980814-5-4.
  • Jarman, Tim; Jarman Nick (2008). Crowood Collectors' Series: Bang & Olufsen. England: Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-84797-068-8.

External links[edit]