Harman International Goes Private

One of the few major audio manufacturers to function as a public company will be taken private. Kohlbert Kravis Roberts and GS Capital Partners bought Harman International in a deal worth $8.3 billion.

Harman International is one of the biggest companies in the audio business. Its Harman Kardon, JBL, and Infinity brands are among the few credible ones to appear on the shelves of national and regional chains. Harman also owns the high-end brands Lexicon, Mark Levinson, and Revel.

Current stockholders will receive either $120 per share or shares in the new corporation. Dr. Sidney Harman, who owns five percent of the existing corporation, will exchange half his current holdings for post-transaction shares. The transaction has the unanimous support of the existing Harman board. The usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals will apply.

The move comes at a good time for Harman, which has just reported its best-ever third-quarter results.

The Harman acquisition is the latest in the game of musical chairs that has seen ownership shift in many large audio companies.