Silicon Valley Startup Acquires Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins, the venerable British speaker brand also known as B&W, has been acquired by EVA Automation, a two-year-old Silicon Valley-based technology company founded by Gideon Yu, a Korean-born high-tech investor and former president and current co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team.

A press release issued today said, “EVA Automation will integrate fully with Bowers &Wilkins’ unmatched acoustic engineering prowess by offering innovative A/V technologies and product vision that will enable Bowers & Wilkins to grow faster and further.”

Joe Atkins, incumbent owner of Bowers & Wilkins, will remain as CEO and will work closely with EVA and Yu to continue to develop Bowers & Wilkins’ position as a “world class highly integrated AV company,” according to the press release. Yu will assume the role of executive chairman for Bowers & Wilkins.

The 44-year-old Yu has a deep-rooted history in high-tech, as former chief financial officer at Facebook and YouTube and senior VP at Yahoo.

In a prepared statement, Yu wrote:

I am beyond thrilled to announce that we have acquired Bowers & Wilkins—in my opinion, the absolute quality and design leader in high-end audio equipment. I’ve personally been a huge fan and loyal customer of Bowers & Wilkins for decades and truly admire and respect their Chairman, Joe Atkins. What he and his team have created over the past 30 years is simply inspiring.

Since I founded EVA Automation two years ago, we have been working hard to create fantastic home A/V user experiences. When it was time to seek out partners for our journey ahead, Bowers & Wilkins was unquestionably our #1 choice, and after I met Joe and his team, it was immediately clear that we share the same long term product vision and sincere passion for home entertainment.

“This is an exciting time for Bowers & Wilkins—a brand of true heritage and quality, Atkins said. “In Gideon Yu and EVA Automation we have a true innovator in the technology sector.”

Founded in Sussex, England in 1966, B&W has built a reputation as one of the finest speaker companies in the world with speakers in top studios such as London’s Abbey Road and Skywalker Sound, founded by George Lucas of Star Wars fame.

For Yu’s full statement, visit

jmilton7043's picture

Queue music: "The End" by The Doors.

etrochez's picture

Can't get over this. It just doesn't make any sense.

Deus02's picture

When you see these kind of sales especially to a company that bears little or no resemblance to the one that has been purchased, it just looks like the principles at B & W just wanted out and were looking for a buyer, no matter who it was and just as long as they met their price. As in any other transaction and in order to appease existing customers and suppliers, one of the execs is kept on. I gather in order to cut costs and improve their profit margin, in recent years, B&W had transferred the manufacturing of the majority of its models to China. The column did not mention that Classe Audio and Rotel are under the same banner so it should be interesting to see what happens to them.

JustinGN's picture

This whole announcement has left a sour taste in my mouth. What the hell is Eva, a company with no products or revenue stream whatsoever, doing by purchasing Bowers & Wilkins, a company who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with big names like Meridian & McIntosh and punches even higher above their class in the audio realm? B&W got me into HiFi audio and proper home theater in the first place way back in 2007, and make up a majority of my audio gear here at home (P5 Gen1 cans, Zeppelin Air 30-pin, 684s, 685s, HTM61), so I'm actually, genuinely fearful of what will happen to them under the leadership of some aimless SV Startup.

As much as I genuinely hope they don't go all CI and Bluetooth speakers on us, it looks like that's exactly what Eva brags about going forward with on their incredibly spartan site. Gideon Yu swears that's not what's happening, and as much as I want to give him the benefit of the doubt...

Look, Mr. Yu. Silicon Valley, in its current state anyway, is very much about quick and rapid turnover of profits for shareholders to become overnight billionaires, then dump their ideas onto dumb market traders while the current bubble is still good. What you say rings just as hollow as every other SV startup schmuck, regardless of your resume, unless you have some actions to back it up.

My advice to you is, at least as a show of good faith, put out a B&W product that appeals to their existing base of customers and fans, but shows what you intend to do with the brand going forward. Give us something we want, but we can also sell to our friends and family on word of mouth. Give us a glimpse, in tangible, purchasable form, of what your vision for Bowers & Wilkins is. Put out a new Rotel AVR with HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2, put out a Classe Processor with some fancy new video technology that could transform low bitrate streaming services into beautiful pictures. Give us a new 700 series to bridge the gap between the CM and 800s.

Something to reassure us we're not about to be fucked over, here.