It doesn’t quite mark the next British invasion in the American music world, but high-performance manufacturer Meridian Audio has acquired U.S.-based digital media company Sooloos for an undisclosed amount.
The deal is the latest move by the U.K.-based Meridian in an effort to bolster its product portfolio and broaden its scope of technological capabilities.
Meridian attributes the acquisition to its desire to stay ahead of the curve as the industry migrates into the realm of digital media (Sooloos just released its high-performance $7,900 Ensemble Music System).
“Combining Meridian and Sooloos takes both over many hurdles,” says Tim Ireland, CEO of Meridian. “The two companies share striking similarities in culture, product philosophy, pursuit of excellence and market approach.”
Meridian says Sooloos founders, Enno Vandermeer and Danny Dulai, and other executives, including COO Peter Wellikoff, will be retained. The Sooloos R&D staff will report to Bob Stuart, chairman and CTO of Meridian, who is based in England.
According to Wellikoff, the synergy between the companies will help drive future product development, which may eventually include an all-inclusive Meridian solution that incorporates control and A/V.
“Our expertise [Sooloos] is on the software side, we’ve got a great GUI [graphical user interface], but Meridian’s ability to produce a DAC [digital-to-analog converter] is vastly superior to ours,” explains Wellikoff.
“To go out into a Meridian speaker will provide much better performance than our internal DACs. [Meridian’s] promise is in a field that complements ours. Our expertise is how to manipulate personal data so it’s fun, easy and entertaining. That’s a weakness of Meridian, but on the flip side, their success on the digital audio side is phenomenal.
“Bob [Stuart] felt it was going to be necessary to get into the category [media management] by acquisition in order to save money on the development side. It’s clear that Meridian is at the forefront [of technology] and we know where media is going, so it makes sense that Meridian embraces this market.”
Sooloos products will be distributed through Meridian’s global network. Both parties are currently examining how to handle the availability of each brand’s product lines to allow each respective group of dealers access to the other brands. For the time being, Wellikoff says, those details will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Wellikoff also says a product prototype of the company’s technologies will be on display at the Meridian exhibit at 2009 International CES in Las Vegas.
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Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.