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B&W sells off Classé


GUTB
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Looks like Classé is in trouble -- they were just sold off to Sound United, an investment bank firm that deals in consumer audio (Denon, Marantz, Polk, etc).

 

https://www.whathifi.com/news/sound-united-adds-classe-audio-to-its-portfolio

 

This is just a few weeks after B&W said "With Classé, we stopped the development of the new Delta Series. The development was taking longer than anticipated, and wasn’t quite working the way we were expecting. We decided we needed to regroup and come up with an alternative strategy." So that was a complete lie, these deals don't happen overnight; B&W were getting ready to dump them. They also said: "We’re now in the process of considering options of how to evaluate high-end products and electronics going forward." Looks like the only "option" was to get rid of their only high-end electronics manufacturer.

 

https://www.cepro.com/article/qa_richard_campbell_addresses_state_of_bw_brand

 

So, basically, with B&W now owned by a Silicon Valley tech company and seemingly focused on consumer grade A/V, that's probably the end of B&W's long legacy in high-end audio. United Audio is probably going to gut Classé as that's usually the deal with these investor-owned companies. I doubt they have any plans to compete in the high-end; mid-end and consumer grade products are already well served by their existing brands. But who knows? Feel sorry for the guys at Classé getting shafted.

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They were purchased by B&W back when they were a relevant brand and B&W put some much needed marketing muscle behind them. I would not feel bad for Classé as they have had more than their fair share of delays over the years getting product out in timely fashion much to the frustration of their dealers. Most in the industry are surprised that B&W held onto Classé for as long as they did. 

 

Dealers waited time and again for Classé to deliver new multi channel processors and when they were delayed dealers had no choice but to bring other manufacturers on board to keep pace with changes in that market segment. I’ve always admired their products but have never put them in the “must have” category and if you ask many dealers throughout the country you’d find many would agree. 

 

 

David

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