Earlier this year Samsung invited me—along with AVS editor Scott Wilkinson—to see its impressive new audio research lab , located in Valencia, California. During that visit, the company indicated its desire to be regarded as the top audio brand in the world. Now, with the announcement that they will purchase Harman—which is the world's largest audio company—that goal may be achieved sooner than I had imagined. Harman is the parent of JBL, AKG, Crown, Infinity, Mark Levinson, Lexicon, Revel, AMX, Studer, and other well-known brands.

The $8 billion, all-cash deal will be the largest acquisition in Samsung's history. Typically, the company develops its technologies internally, but it also has $71 billion in cash to spend. The Wall Street Journal duly notes that the primary motivation for the acquisition was Harman's penetration into the automotive market. And yet, what Samsung is buying is the whole shebang, not just parts of the company.

Revel speakers is one of the brands Harman picks up with this acquisition. 

JBL is perhaps the most recognizable of all the Harman brands Samsung will own.
Regarding Samsung's interest in Harman's automotive-related tech, Young Sohn, the president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics said "The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade." Even so, the company plans to retain Harman's current staff and mix of brands, stating that "Samsung is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and plans to retain Harman’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands."

On the business side of things, automotive-related sales currently account for 65% of Harman's revenue.  The purchase appears to simultaneously be a bargain for Samsung and a boon for Harman. Samsung is offering to pay $112 per share for Harman stock, which represents a nearly 30% markup over its current price. However, Harman shares had been selling for almost $150 last year, but had dropped due to weakness in the Pro audio segment, where its JBL and Crown brands have a huge presence. The company says it will work to bolster that aspect of its business.

The fact that Samsung will soon own JBL, Crown, Revel, Mark Levinson, and Lexicon is just now sinking in. This acquisition covers the entire gamut from inexpensive consumer goods to the largest professional AV installations, and covers car audio as well as high-end audio. The deal does require the approval of Harman shareholders, but it has already been "unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies," says the press release. The deal should close sometime in mid-2017 after "regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions" are complete.

Here's a link to the full press release.