Charlesbank’s Sound United acquires Classé Audio from B&W

Photo of author

By Ted Liu

Sound United, LLC, a portfolio company of Boston based private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners, LLC, has acquired Classé Audio Inc., a Montreal based maker of high-performance music and theater components, from B&W Group Ltd. (Bowers & Wilkins). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Classé Audio will join the Sound United family of brands including Denon®, Marantz®, Polk Audio®, Definitive Technology®, Polk BOOM®, HEOS®, and Boston Acoustics®.

B&W Group acquired Classé in 2001. B&W Group is owned by EVA Automation, Inc., a company owned by Gideon Yu, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube. EVA bought control of B&W in May 2016.

photo credit: B&W Group

News Release

Sound United Announces Acquisition of Classé Audio

Leading Audio Company Continues to Combine Powerful Brands to Grow Global Scale, Increase Resources and Invest in Innovation

January 08, 2018 – Sound United LLC, parent company to Denon®, Marantz®, Polk Audio®, Definitive Technology®, Polk BOOM®, HEOS®, and Boston Acoustics®, today announced it has acquired Classé Audio, a leading maker of high-performance music and theater components. Classé Audio will join the Sound United family of brands, representing some of the most renowned names in the industry. Through this acquisition, Sound United will continue to drive its global growth and recognition, spearheading innovation in the category and increasing its footprint in the consumer audio space.

Classé Audio’s suite of high fidelity amplifiers, pre-amplifier processors and integrated amplifiers are designed for movie and music enthusiasts who appreciate sound quality, beauty and elegance above all. Classé Audio was previously owned and distributed by Bowers & Wilkins.

“Acquiring Classé Audio demonstrates Sound United’s continued focus on catering to our customers, who crave performance and innovation,”

said Kevin Duffy, CEO of Sound United.

“This acquisition opens opportunities to capitalize on new markets and niches within the high-end audio community, continuing Sound United’s evolution as a premium player. We look forward to partnering with the talented management team of Classé Audio to grow the combined business and bring our expanded capabilities to our employees and customers.”

Classé Audio’s President, Dave Nauber, who will continue to lead the Classé Audio brand at Sound United, added, “We’re overwhelmingly pleased Classé Audio is joining Sound United’s respected family of brands. With a strong resurgence of the audiophile community, and Sound United’s existing synergy with the recently purchased D+M Group, we’re confident our overall market positioning as a premium option will only strengthen. Ultimately, this is an excellent opportunity for Classé employees, customers and strategic partners to bring our energy and ideas to the forefront.”

About Sound United
Sound United is a division of DEI Holdings with an award-winning portfolio of audio brands that deliver industry-leading home theater and personal audio listening experiences for a wide-range of consumers. Each brand provides an expansive array of audio products that includes high-end and custom installation audio, to mid-tier markets that cover loudspeakers, sound bars, AV receivers, wireless multi-room music systems, Bluetooth® speakers, amplifiers, turntables and headphones.

Dedicated to artfully reproducing audio for listeners and enthusiasts around the world, Sound United comprises Denon®, Marantz®, Polk Audio®, Definitive Technology®, Polk BOOM®, HEOS® and Boston Acoustics®. Each brand offers a unique approach to bringing home theater and music to life. Whether it’s through the legendary heritage of Denon, the classic sound of Polk Audio, the premium performance of Definitive Technology, the highly sought-after amplification of Marantz, the action-inspired form factors of Polk BOOM, the wireless home audio solutions of HEOS or the accessible performance of Boston Acoustics, Sound United is your sound — so listen.

Sound United is a portfolio company of Boston-based private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners, LLC. Charlesbank acquired DEI Holdings in 2011.

To learn more about Sound United and its brands, visit

About Classé Audio
Classé Audio is a leading maker of high-performance music and theater components. Classé Audio was previously owned by Bowers & WIlkins. The company was founded in 1980 and is located outside Montreal, Canada.

About Charlesbank Capital Partners
Based in Boston and New York, Charlesbank Capital Partners is a middle-market private equity investment firm managing more than $5 billion of capital. Charlesbank focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings, generally investing in companies with enterprise values of $150 million to $1.5 billion, and also engages in opportunistic credit investments. The firm seeks to partner with strong management teams to build companies with sustainable competitive advantage and excellent prospects for growth. For more information, please visit