In a move that’s certain to cause waves in the audio world, The Quest Group, owner of AudioQuest cables, has purchased speaker maker GoldenEar Technology.
A company that (partly) made its name exaggerating bass response specifications will synergistically join forces with a company that makes money claiming that HDMI cables can improve the quality of a video signal, and that sells upgraded audiophile power cords which they claim—with a straight face—improves the sound of your system.
It’s hard to predict what the future holds for GoldenEar. Its “value” as a brand rests on the fact many of its products—which do perform well—are not sold through online channels. It’ll be interesting to see if that remains the case after this acquisition.
Anyhow, enough of my opinions. I woke up for a midnight snack and saw this in my inbox… here’s the official press release:
For Immediate Release
January 2, 2020
GoldenEar Technology, manufacturer of some of the world’s highest value audiophile loudspeakers, and The Quest Group, best known as the owner of the AudioQuest brand of cables, Niagara power products, and DragonFly DACs, are very pleased to announce that GoldenEar has become part of The Quest Group, a California corporation wholly owned by AudioQuest founder and CEO Bill Low. Below is the letter that Sandy Gross sent out this morning to GoldenEar dealers and Export distributors:
I have some very exciting news to share with you: Our industry has seen a remarkable series of mergers and acquisitions over the past few years. Now I am pleased to announce that The Quest Group, the owner of AudioQuest, has acquired GoldenEar Technology. Owned by Bill Low, an ardent audiophile, The Quest Group, best known as the creator and supplier of the AudioQuest brand, has defined how a focus on audiophile performance can combine with market savvy and understanding, marketing excellence and operational excellence, to achieve exceptional business success. All of these positives mirror what GoldenEar is about, but with greater strength, resources, and capabilities.
Don Givogue, Bob Johnston, and I started GoldenEar ten years ago with the vision of creating an American classic: a strong, performance-oriented high-end audio company that would take a leading position on the world stage. We have created superb products that are unmatched in their combination of performance and value. Through our hard-hitting marketing, advertising, and fantastic reviews, we have become a well-established force in the loudspeaker marketplace. We have established a much-envied distribution network in North America through the best brick & mortar dealers. And in the international markets, with distributors in 35 countries, we have begun to establish an equally enviable worldwide presence.
When Don approached me several years ago to let me know that he wanted to retire, he tasked me with the challenge of finding the right business partner with which to join GoldenEar—one who understands who we are, what we do, and how we do it. The choice was clear: I have known Bill Low for almost 50 years, dating back to my first trip around the country to set up Polk distribution. Back then, Bill had a small high-end audio store in Portland, Oregon, and, as two fanatical audiophiles, we immediately hit it off and have been friends ever since. So, I enthusiastically approached Bill with the concept of bringing GoldenEar into The Quest Group, joining AudioQuest, and here we are today announcing that combination.
I very much want to continue with my lifelong work of creating great loudspeakers and bringing them to market. Don was the operational side of the business, and I believe that the operational strength within The Quest Group will be more than able to pick up the ball and charge ahead. I think that TQG’s capabilities will help us to create and structure an even more effective market presence, and, with their help and backing, I am confident that our sales team will grow and be able to offer even greater support to you, our dealers, distributors, and to your teams.
Internationally, from a logistical standpoint, The Quest Group is way ahead of anything that we have ever had. Their strong presence on the ground in Europe includes full warehousing and a growing sales-support structure. Their excellent Asia-Pacific team will help our current vendor interface team, as well as provide in-person sales support. Combined, these assets will be a tremendous help for GoldenEar and our distributors toward achieving growth and taking a much stronger international position. Our engineering team, strengthened by the addition of new head Benjamin Seaman, who has tremendous experience organizing and running effective engineering teams in the aerospace industry, remains in place and is busy working on new projects to help me achieve my product dreams. And our sales team of Dave Kakenmaster, Chris Volk, and Michael Grover are also in place and in gear. In addition, our in-house sales team of Anne Conaway and Mary Conaway are here and busy as always working with you and helping to make everything run smoothly and efficiently.
Of course, GoldenEar will continue to slowly and methodically pursue its own unique and independent distribution strategy. At present, about one hundred of GoldenEar’s approximately two hundred North American dealers are also AudioQuest dealers. Over time, more AudioQuest dealers might become GoldenEar dealers, though only when and where appropriate. Under no circumstances will GoldenEar become available to all AudioQuest dealers. Of course, AudioQuest is hoping that it might be appropriate for more of the GoldenEar dealer community to become AudioQuest dealers, but there is no mandate for either community to merge with the other.
I look forward to working together with you on this new chapter in the history, development, and success of GoldenEar.
Onward and Upward,
Bill Low’s addendum:
I’m delighted to welcome GoldenEar into the heart of The Quest Group’s performance-oriented audio business.
Other than that, Sandy’s letter says it all—including the important fact that I am acquiring GoldenEar Technology because nothing is broken and nothing needs to be fixed. The businesses of GoldenEar and AudioQuest are simply complementary and compatible to a degree seldom seen when an investment business buys companies.
I have always been certain that I would only ever want to be involved with business activities that I initiated, from my stores in Portland, OR, and Santa Monica, on to AudioQuest cables, Niagara and PowerQuest power products, and the DragonFly series of portable DACs—but the opportunity to work with Sandy and share in the growth of GoldenEar is simply irresistible.
Everyone who knows Sandy has witnessed someone doing what he loves—I hope the same is obvious to those who know me. Sandy and I will now be practicing our favorite “pastime” under the same umbrella.
William E. Low
The Quest Group