Harman International

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Harman International Industries, Inc.
IndustryAudio electronics
Founded1980; 43 years ago (1980)
HeadquartersStamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Key people
Michael Mauser
(President & CEO)
ProductsAudio equipment
BrandsSee list
RevenueIncrease$8.8 billion(2020)[1]
Number of employees
30,000 (2020)[2]
ParentSamsung Electronics

Harman International Industries, commonly known as Harman (stylized in all-uppercase as HARMAN), is an American audio electronics company.[3] Since 2017, the company has been operating as an independent subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.[4]

Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, US.It has its own executive leadership team [5] Harman maintains major operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Harman markets its products under various brands, including AKG, AMX, Arcam,[6] Bang & Olufsen Automotive, Becker, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Martin, Revel, Soundcraft and Studer.

Early history[edit]

Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon founded the predecessor to Harman International, Harman Kardon, in 1953. Both Harman and Kardon were engineers by training and had worked at the Bogen Company, which was a manufacturer of public address systems. They developed high-fidelity audio together. Harman bought out his partner in 1956, and then expanded Harman Kardon into an audio powerhouse, according to a biography written by the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.[7]

Acquisitions and expansion[edit]

Promotional vehicle at Geneva International Motor Show 2019

In the 1960s, Harman Kardon grew larger and acquired other audio houses (such as JBL).[8] In the 1970s, Harman accepted an appointment in the Carter administration as deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce. When Harman took office in 1976 as head in charge, he sold his company to conglomerate Beatrice Foods to avoid a conflict of interest. Beatrice promptly sold many portions of the company, including the original Harman Kardon division, and by 1980 only 60% of the original company remained.

After he left his government position in 1978,[9] he created Harman International Industries and reacquired a number of businesses he sold to Beatrice. The company continued its growth plan with a string of acquisitions throughout the 1980s that pushed Harman International's sales from about $80 million in 1981 to more than $200 million by 1986, and then to more than $500 million by 1989. Harman International went public in 1986 with a stock offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Cash from that sale was used to, among many other purchases, buy Soundcraft, a UK producer of professional mixing boards, in 1988 and later – Salt Lake City digital electronics producer DOD Electronics Corp. By 1994, Harman International was selling consumer audio gear under such brands as JBL, Harman Kardon, Infinity and Epicure loudspeakers, as well as professional audio systems with such brands as JBL Professional, UREI, Soundcraft, Allen & Heath, dbx, Studer, DOD, Lexicon, AKG, BSS, Orban, Quested and Turbosound (the last one now under the control of Music Group[10]).

In 2003 Madrigal Audio Laboratories were bought, which includes Highend Mark Levinson and Revel.[11]

In July 2011, Harman acquired MWM Acoustics.[12]

Harman expanded to include lighting in 2013 with the acquisition of Martin Professional.[13]

In June 2014, Harman completed the acquisition of AMX LLC.[14]

In March 2015, Harman acquired the automotive division of Bang & Olufsen for 145 million euros ($156 million) for the unit as well as technology license fees.[15] The purchase didn't include Bang & Olufsen's consumer-electronics business.[16]

In 2015, recognizing the increasing role of software and services in the markets it served, Harman expanded its capabilities around cloud, mobility and analytics with the acquisitions of Symphony Teleca, a software services company based in Mountain View, CA,[17] and Redbend, an Israeli-based provider of software management technology for connected devices, and over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware upgrading services.[18] With these additions, Harman announced the formation of a fourth division, which they called Connected Services.

In March 2016, Harman acquired the automotive cyber-security firm TowerSec.[19] This acquisition increased Harman's competencies in the emerging automotive cyber-security field. This was evidenced by the subsequent launch of the company's '5+1 security framework' incorporating TowerSec's 'ECU shield' technology.[20] This acquisition was notable for further demonstrating Harman's desire to expand beyond its traditional business areas of in-car audio and entertainment systems.[20]

On November 14, 2016, Harman entered into an agreement to be acquired by Samsung.[21]

In February 2017, Harman International shareholders voted in favor of the acquisition by Samsung.[22] On March 10, 2017, the acquisition was completed, with Harman becoming the independent subsidiary of Samsung.[23]

In March 13, 2018 Harman International announced strategic association with Samsung SmartThings, a wholly owned and independent subsidiary of Samsung. Through this collaboration, Harman will work with SmartThings to design and develop of the SmartThings app, integrate third-party sensors and drive initiatives for IoT platform hub.[24]

As of early April, 2022 the DOD and DigiTech brands appeared to have been discontinued or sold to another company. Tom Cram, former Product Development Manager, speaking of rumors about him rejoining the company stated, "you need to push those rosy thoughts right out of your heads.”[25] On April 25 2022, Cor-Tek Corporation stated they acquired those brands and their intellectual assets.

Private equity attempt[edit]

Harman International Industries was to delist from NYSE in Q3/2007 due to a buy-out by KKR and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.[26] However, as of mid September 2007, KKR announced they would back out of the deal. On the news, Harman shares plummeted by more than 24%.

Coincident with the buy-out deal, Dinesh Paliwal was hired as company president and CEO in July 2007. On July 1 2008, Sidney Harman was succeeded by Dinesh Paliwal as chairman of the board.[27] In April 2020 he was succeeded by Michael Mauser, who has been working 22 years for Harman.[28]


  • AIR – a cross-platform runtime system for building desktop applications and mobile applications
  • AKG – microphone/headphones
  • AMX – video switching and control devices
  • Arcam – high end home audio – amplifiers and audio components
  • AXYS Tunnel – Amplifier for public tunnel
  • Bang & Olufsen Automotive – car audio
  • Becker – car infotainment
  • BSS Audio – signal processing
  • Crown International – pro amplifiers
  • dbx – signal processors
  • HALOsonic – Noise Management Solutions
  • HardWire – guitar pedals
  • Harman Kardon – home/car audio
  • HiQnet – control network for digital audio equipment, supporting communication over TCP/IP, USB and RS232
  • Infinity – home/car speakers/headphones
  • JBL – home/car speakers & amplifiers, professional speakers, headphones
  • Lexicon – digital processing
  • Mark Levinson Audio Systems – home/car audio
  • Martin Professional – stage and architectural lighting and effects fixtures
  • Revel – home/car speakers
  • Selenium – home, car and professional speakers, amplifiers, sound tables/mixers
  • S1nn GmbH & Co.
  • Soundcraft – mixing consoles
  • Studer – mixing consoles, sold to Evertz Microsystems 2021[29]
  • Caaresysin-cabin safety systems


  1. ^ "HARMAN Announces Executive Management Changes". www.businesswire.com. February 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "HARMAN Launches AccuAlertMe – An Enterprise Platform to Enable Workplace Safety for Employees and Visitors". HARMAN Newsroom.
  3. ^ "HARMAN Unveils New Logo, Signals Brand Evolution". HARMAN Newsroom. July 30, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Trentmann, Nina (June 13, 2017). "Samsung Takeover Allows Harman International to Think Bigger, CFO Says". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  5. ^ https://www.harman.com/leadership
  6. ^ stereo.de 17 July 2017, Harman kauft Arcam (German), retrieved 11 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Dr. Sidney Harman". Archived from the original on December 28, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  8. ^ "History - Home". Archived from the original on April 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Jimmy Carter: Department of Commerce Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Sidney L. Harman as Under Secretary". Presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  10. ^ "MUSIC Group". Turbosound.com. Archived from the original on February 28, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  11. ^ "Harman increases Madrigal severance package". middletownpress.com. December 2003. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  12. ^ "High Quality Audio – High Quality Audio – About Us". Embedded.harman.com. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  13. ^ "HARMAN Completes Acquisition of Entertainment Lighting Company Martin Professional". HARMAN Newsroom. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  14. ^ "HARMAN Completes Acquisition of AMX". HARMAN Newsroom. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  15. ^ Tom Lavell (March 31, 2015). "Bang & Olufsen to Sell Car-Audio Unit to Harman in Focus Shift". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  16. ^ "Harman Kardon acquires Bang & Olufsen Automotive". Bmwblog.com. March 31, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  17. ^ "HARMAN to Acquire Software Services Company Symphony Teleca | HARMAN". News.harman.com. January 22, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  18. ^ "HARMAN Completes Acquisition of Redbend". HARMAN Newsroom. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  19. ^ "HARMAN Completes Acquisition of TowerSec Automotive Cyber Security". HARMAN Newsroom. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Harman automotive cyber-security system". Deep Tread. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  21. ^ "Harman (HAR) to be Acquired by Samsung for $8B in Cash". Yahoo! Finance. Zacks Equity Research. November 14, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  22. ^ "Harman International merger with Samsung Electronics approved by shareholders". SamMobile. February 19, 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  23. ^ "Amid scandals and setbacks, Samsung completes its biggest acquisition ever". Digital Trends. March 12, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  24. ^ "HARMAN Announces Strategic Association with Samsung SmartThings". HARMAN Newsroom.
  25. ^ "DIGITECH and DOD appear to have been dropped by HARMAN". Guitar.com.
  26. ^ "KHI Parent Inc. - 'S-4' on 6/20/07". SEC Info. Retrieved August 28, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "Harman to Retire from Company He Founded - 6/2/2008 - TWICE". Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  28. ^ "Harman Confirms Michael Mauser to Succeed Dinesh Paliwal as New President and CEO". February 3, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  29. ^ "Evertz Acquires Studer from Harman". tvtechnology.com. January 13, 2021.

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