Legrand buys Luxul. Samsung buys Harman. Razer buys THX. SnapAV buys, well, whoever it is that SnapAV bought this week (honestly, who can keep up?). If there's one trend in our industry that interests me less than any other, it has to be the acquisition of companies by other companies. Because, really, when you get right down to it, do these corporate acquisitions ever make a meaningful difference to us little folks, the end users? Usually not. But Control4's acquisition of Triad Speakers strikes me as a different sort of deal.
First off, let's look the elephant in the room right in the eye and give him a name: the fact that a home automation company has purchased a speaker company is a little weird. (And yeah, I'm looking at you, Eva Automation, what with your purchase of Bowers & Wilkins.) Even if it's a speaker company as renowned as Triad.
Talk to Control4 Chairman and CEO Martin Plaehn for just a few minutes about the purchase, though, and it starts to seem a lot less weird. "The homeowner looks to Control4 for the entire experience," he told me last night in a phone call, ahead of today's announcement. "They don't differentiate between their automation solution and their entertainment. When something in the home doesn't work right, as far as the average homeowner is concerned, it's the control solution that's to blame. Even if the control solution isn't really to blame. The thing is, though, we kinda own that. It's one reason we bought Pakedge last year. And when you own a responsibility like that, you may as well deliver the best from end to end. Triad speakers are the best end we could imagine."
So, as of today, Control4 dealers (all 4,000 of them) will be able to order Triad speakers directly from the Control4 dealer portal or a brand new, dedicated, 24/7 Triad Speakers dealer portal, which will also be available to those existing Triad dealers who aren't Control4 dealers. "Each one of those dealers can and should decide for themselves which portal to utilize," Plaehn told me. "Triad sells product into Crestron and Savant installations. Likewise with Pakedge. There's a lot of Pakedge beneath Crestron and Savant installations. Those dealers are valuable to us, even if they're not on the Control4 platform."
So, if you're an existing Triad dealer (or customer), there's plenty of reason to be excited: your favorite speakers will be available exactly as they were before, just through a nifty dealer portal that's available anytime day or night. But for smart home aficionados who may not quite understand what all the brouhaha is about, consider this: the acquisition of Triad by Control4 means that new audio products are likely to arise from the new, larger family. I asked Plaehn if Triad products designed specifically for Control4 applications may be in the works. "Yes," he told me, "and likewise the acoustic expertise that Triad brings will affect how we design amplification and audio switching products going forward. But that's all I'm going to say about that for now."
For more details, check out the full press release below:
Control4 Corporation today announced the acquisition of Triad Speakers, Inc., a leader in advanced audio technology with best-in-class, customizable speaker solutions.
"Entertainment is integral to the connected home, and our Control4 dealers are designing end-to-end experiences for family room entertainment, home theaters, and indoor and outdoor multi-room music for their customers," said Martin Plaehn, Control4 Chairman and CEO. "The acquisition of Triad brings proven premium-acoustics experience and innovation to our company, enabling us to immediately deepen our entertainment offering and develop new integrated-audio experiences for the future."
Triad's 30-year heritage of delivering exceptional audio solutions is rooted in its unwavering attention to audio design and detail, its uncompromising focus on the quality of the listening experience, and the specialty customization of its products. Triad manufactures a comprehensive range of high-quality, built-to-order premium audio speakers to meet the discerning demands of homeowners--for home theaters, family rooms, whole-home or multi-room audio, as well as for outdoor environments. The company's focus on elegant design integration has been delivering customized audio experiences that feature beautiful sound while enhancing a home's décor. The acquisition of Triad is a strategic addition to the Control4 entertainment portfolio, which includes the fully programmable Control4 EA-series controllers with native high-resolution streaming music services, its family of multi-room audio matrix switches and amplifiers, and its family of Ultra HD 4K video matrix switches with audio down-mixing capabilities.
"At Triad, high-quality audio, custom design, and seamless integration have been the standards that we will continue delivering to our dealers and their end customers," said Larry Pexton, founder and CEO of Triad. "Becoming part of the Control4 family enables us to expose our engineering expertise to those homeowners in the broader market of home automation and entertainment who are passionate about their listening experience."
Effective immediately, all Triad dealers in North America are now able--for the first time--to place their product orders and customization requests via a brand new online dealer portal. Control4 and Pakedge dealers may also order Triad solutions online, starting today. In the coming weeks, the Triad dealer portal will also include technical training information and additional marketing resources.
Nearly the entire Triad team will be joining Control4, including founder Larry Pexton, as well as the Triad's R&D, manufacturing, and custom-services employees, all of whom will continue operating from Triad's existing facility in Portland, Oregon.
Total consideration for the acquisition of Triad consisted of $9.6 million in cash. Triad generated approximately $9 million in revenue in 2016. Control4 plans to invest in the operations of the business during 2017 in order to push adoption of these products through its larger sales channels. As a result, Control4 anticipates that the acquisition will be net income neutral in 2017, after adjusting for acquisition related expenses. Control4 will provide guidance for the second quarter and update its annual guidance to include the operations of Triad at its next earnings call.