The Future of Samsung & Harman: Will Samsung Keep Harman a Separate Entity?

Published: 2016-11-29

So Harman, the acquirer of countless other audio visual companies, has been acquired.

The sum of $8 billion may seem out of bounds for those of us who visit their booths at ISE or InfoComm. What Samsung was buying, though, was a gateway into the lucrative auto entertainment business.

Harman has a backlog of $24 billion in revenue coming from this vertical. It’s one of the main reasons Harman is so involved with AVB/TSN and the AVnu Alliance.

While all of the press releases and official words from Harman sound positive, the truth is no one knows what the next few years will look like.

A Look at the Possibilites Ahead

We have watched several mergers and acquisitions and the aftermath. Based on those, we know it will be at least a year before Harman has been fully integrated into Samsung’s way of doing things.

AMX took a little over a year to get fully into Harman’s system. We should expect about the same here. The question is whether or not Samsung will be keeping Harman a separate entity.

Although I have many friends at Harman, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the possibilities that lie ahead.

First, Samsung will keep true to their statements and Harman will enjoy some serious research and development funds and be able to further their technological expertise.

We in the AV world will benefit from this relationship as advancements in Harman would mean some pretty great technology coming down the pipeline.

Will Samsung Sell Off Some Harman Brands?

Another possibility, though, is Samsung will analyze what they have throughout the Harman family. Then they will divest themselves of the parts and pieces that don’t add to the auto entertainment.

It would mean several smaller booths at InfoComm out of the giant Harman booth, although it is important to note that the acquisition isn’t slated to close until June of 2017, so it’s unlikely to affect InfoComm 2017.

While it may look like all the speculation that Samsung would sell off some Harman brands might come true, I don’t see this happening.

The reason is there are several parts of Harman that make the auto entertainment arena work. From JBL to Crown, the Harman family really creates as a whole.

As dealers, it will be important to follow along as the year goes on. Harman is a mainstay in a great number of your shops. I would say keep designing with them, keep installing, but keep watch over what Samsung says, and doesn’t say, over the next year.

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