Harman International Industries

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Harman International Industries, Incorporated
Traded as NYSEHAR
S&P 500 Component
Industry Electronics
Founded 1980
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut
Key people
Dinesh Paliwal
Chairman & CEO
Products audio, electronic, and infotainment systems for automotive OEM's, home and computer systems, loudspeakers and electronics for audio professionals (concert halls, stadiums, airports, recording, broadcasting, and cinema)
Brands Harman Kardon, Becker, JBL, Crown Audio, dbx, Martin Professional, AKG Acoustics, Lexicon, Infinity, Mark Levinson, Revel
Revenue $6.4 billion (2015)[1]
$470 million (2015)
$405 million (2015)
Number of employees
28000 (2015)
Website harman.com

Harman International Industries, Incorporated is an American company that designs and engineers connected products for automakers, consumers and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems; audio and visual products, enterprise automation; and connected services.[2] Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Harman maintains major operations in the Americas, Europe, as well as Asia and markets its products under more than twenty brands — including AKG Acoustics, AMX, Crown Audio, Harman/Kardon, Infinity, JBL, JBL Professional, 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 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.[3]

Acquisitions and expansion[edit]

In the 1970s, Harman accepted an appointment in the Carter administration as undersecretary of the Department of Commerce. When Harman took office in 1976, 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,[4] 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 U.K. producer of professional mixing boards, in 1988 and later - Salt Lake City digital electronics producer DOD Electronics Corp. By 1990, 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, DBX, Quested and Turbosound (the last one now under the control of Music Group (company)[5]).

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.[6]

Harman expanded to include lighting in 2013 with the acquisition of Martin Professional.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] The purchase didn’t include Bang & Olufsen’s consumer-electronics business.[10]

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,[11] and Redbend, an Israeli-based provider of software management technology for connected devices, and over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware upgrading services.[12] With these additions, Harman announced the formation of a fourth division, which they called Connected Services.

Private equity attempt[edit]

Harman International Industries was to disappear from NYSE in Q3/2007 due to a buy-out by KKR and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.[13] However, as of mid September 2007, KKR announced they would back out of the deal. Harman shares plummeted by more than 24% that day, on the news.

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.[14]

On July 1, 2008, Sidney Harman was succeeded by Dinesh Paliwal as Chairman of the Board.[15]


  • AKG Acoustics - microphone/headphones
  • AMX - video switching and control devices
  • Bang & Olufsen Automotive
  • Becker - car infotainment
  • BSS Audio - signal processing
  • Crown International - pro amplifiers
  • dbx Professional Products - signal processors
  • DigiTech - guitar products
  • HardWire - guitar pedals
  • HiQnet - audio digital network, based on Ethernet
  • harman/kardon - home/car audio
  • Infinity - home/car speakers
  • JBL - home/car speakers & amplifiers, professional speakers
  • Lexicon - digital processing
  • Mark Levinson Audio Systems - home/car audio
  • Martin Professional - stage and architectural lighting and effects fixtures
  • Revel - home speakers
  • Selenium - home, car and professional speakers, amplifiers, sound tables/mixers
  • Soundcraft - mixing consoles
  • Studer - mixing consoles


External links[edit]