Strange bedfellows

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Strange bedfellows
Here's a puzzle. What do Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, Classé, Boston Acoustics, hassle-free thermometers, sleep aids, and an electronic whizbang that checks your pulse have in common? If your answer is "I haven't a clue" you wouldn't be alone. In a press release reported in Business Wire, Sound United, the holding company that owns the aforementioned audio brands is being acquired for $1 billion by Masimo, a personal health care company. Sounds like a win for Sound United, but the health care company? While perhaps not as bizarre as when Harman International sold its brands (Infinity, JBL, among them) to Beatrice Foods, it certainly makes me scratch my head. (That marriage enriched Sydney Harman but didn't last long and cost Beatrice millions in losses). Investors in the health care company didn't seem too impressed either. Following the announcement of the acquisition, Masimo's shares tanked by 35%. In response, Masimo's CEO, Joe Kiani defended the reasoning behind the acquisition:
"We see significant opportunities to cross-leverage technologies, bringing Masimo's clinically superior solutions into the home and on-the-go as well as bringing Sound United's premium technologies into the hospital to advance our hospital automation connectivity and cloud-based technologies."
Say what? Maybe B and W will add personal heart monitors into their speakers to make sure you're having a good sonic experience or perhaps the next time you're unlucky enough to spend time in the hospital your bedside entertainment system will be thanks to Marantz. Strange. *ht to Bill Leebens for this story.
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Paul McGowan

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