Nortek, the parent company of brands such as Sunfire, Panamax, Speakercraft, Xantec, Furman, Litetouch, Omnimount, Niles, Elan and other AV marks, announced yesterday at the CEDIA tradeshow in Atlanta that they would be filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The news came via a press release.
Nortek along with the likes of Planar, D&M Holdings and some private equity companies had been snapping up AV companies back before banks started getting stingy. Flush with funny money, buying companies from their founders was easy back in the day. Running them as and serving both the dealer base as well as the customer base has proven to be a whole other issue for AV industry consolidators, especially in these tough economic times.
Nortek is selling the concept that they are flush with cash despite the bankruptcy and that things will remain the same as before. Clearly, that wasn't good enough to become profitable in these difficult times. To survive Nortek will need to invest in new products, new concepts, become a better marketing company that doesn't rely on the lift from PR exclusively for product momentum if they have hopes of coming out of their problems looking and smelling good. What's more likely is Nortek looking to spin off some of the brands they gobbled up to raise even more cash so that they become more of a lean operation. Don't be shocked when more than one of the brands potentially goes on the block at deeply discounted prices. Jeremy Burkardt could buy back Speakercraft or Bob Carver could buy back Sunfire without me falling out of my Aeron chair out of shock.