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|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.|
(President & CEO)
Number of employees
Harman International Industries, Incorporated, commonly known as Harman (stylized as HARMAN), is an American company that designs, engineers and produces connected products for automakers, consumers and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation, and connected services. Since 2017, the company has been an independent subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Harman maintains major operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Harman markets its products under various brands, including AKG, AMX, Arcam, Bang & Olufsen Automotive, Becker, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, DigiTech, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Martin, Revel, Soundcraft and Studer.
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 then the top manufacturer of public address systems. Their collaboration helped to create a new industry: high-fidelity audio. 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.
Acquisitions and expansion
In the 1960s, Harman Kardon grew more prosperous and acquired other audio houses (such as JBL). 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 government in 1978, 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).
In July 2011, Harman acquired MWM Acoustics, a privately held company that specialized in speaker and microphone technology for consumer electronics and enterprise telephony. The combination of MWM Acoustics, Branded Audio, and AKG Automotive Microphones became the Embedded Audio Business Team.
In June 2014, Harman completed the acquisition of AMX LLC, from The Duchossois Group, bringing enterprise control and automation systems as well as audio/video switching and distributing to Harman's offerings.
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. The purchase didn't include Bang & Olufsen's consumer-electronics business.
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, and Redbend, an Israeli-based provider of software management technology for connected devices, and over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware upgrading services. 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. 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. This acquisition was notable for further demonstrating Harman's desire to expand beyond its traditional business areas of in-car audio and entertainment systems.
In December 2016, Harman International Industries Inc. invested in a startup that makes projection displays that sit in front of car windshields, signalling a new area it plans to explore under the ownership of Samsung.
In February 2017, Harman International shareholders voted in favor of the acquisition by Samsung. On March 10, 2017, the acquisition was completed, with Harman becoming the independent subsidiary of Samsung.
Private equity attempt
Harman International Industries was to delist from NYSE in Q3/2007 due to a buy-out by KKR and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. 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 C. Paliwal was hired as company president and CEO in July 2007. Paliwal was a veteran of the corporate turn-around. During his tenure as president of U.S. operations for ABB, the heavyweight Swiss-based automation provider, the company moved from a money-losing and siloed organization to one with double digit growth, doubled its share price in one year, and saw its bond ratings upgraded by Moody's and Standard & Poors.
On July 1, 2008, Sidney Harman was succeeded by Dinesh Paliwal as chairman of the board.
- 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 – high end audio
- Becker – car infotainment
- BSS Audio – signal processing
- Crown International – pro amplifiers
- dbx – signal processors
- DigiTech – guitar products
- 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
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- "HARMAN Completes Acquisition of TowerSec Automotive Cyber Security". HARMAN Newsroom. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
- "Harman automotive cyber-security system". Deep Tread. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
- "Samsung's Harman Acquisition Puts Pressure On Apple And Tier 1 Auto Suppliers". Forbes.com. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
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