Logitech Buys Ultimate Ears – Enters Earphone Market
Logitech has purchased Ultimate Ears, a privately held Irvine, California, USA company for $34 million in cash. Originally a provider of custom personal monitors for on-stage musicians, Ultimate Ears recently expanded its product line to the consumer earphones with the to capture the exploding iPod and personal media player (PMP) market.
Founded in 1995 by Jerry Harvey and Mindy Harvey, Ultimate Ears has grown from a sideline while Jerry mixed monitors on tour, into a significant business. Since 2005, using patented, proprietary technology, Ultimate Ears has expanded its product line with universal-fit earphones for audiophiles as well as mainstream music enthusiasts. Pricing for the company’s consumer products begins at $40, while pricing for custom products can be as much as $1200. Ultimate Ears employs nearly 40 people.
“Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business,” said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive officer. “Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech’s success has been built on using a deep understanding of our customers to create innovative products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits–whether they are listening to music, gaming, watching a video or otherwise enjoying their digital lifestyle. We look forward to using our worldwide distribution network and operational efficiencies to help more people discover this superior listening experience.”
The Future: An excellent acquisition for Logitech. Ultimate Ears has consistently delivered an excellent listening experience, and this purchase allows Logitech to jump into the competitive earphone market with a solid foundation. Lately, Ultimate Ears has been going head-to-head with Shure in the top-end earphone market to see who can put the most speakers in an earphone, which we have equated to the battle between Gillette and Schick, and their fight to see how many blades they can jam onto a razor. However, with Logitech’s significant marketing muscle, and deep coffers this means that Ultimate Ears is going to step up their game, which will put additional pressure on Shure. The end result is going to be a win for the deep pocketed consumer.