He called the deal “opportunistic,” rather than a long-term strategic plan by Russound.
Apparently Russound CEO Charlie Porritt has been friends with Colorado vNet founder Bill Beierwaltes over the years, and had reached out to the entrepreneur-inventor after learning that his company’s investor had backed out post-CEDIA EXPO.
When the two executives talked they realized certain “synergies” between their companies. Particularly, Russound would gain engineering insight toward its goals of more IP-based audio distribution and vNet would stay in business and gain more stability.
Hirshkind said that in addition to helping Russound in that transformation from an analog to IP audio distribution, vNet also brings very strong integration capabilities to the table, which would help make the company’s system more robust and enable it to integrate better with security, CCTV, HVAC technologies.
Also, there’s minimum crossover between the dealer bases of the two companies.
“If I look at the product, it’s a different approach to doing the same thing,” Hirshkind said in explaining the lack of dealer overlap. “If you want distributed audio, whether via an amplified keypad or non-amplified keypad, they do theirs via IP and it’s more technology driven than our existing analog products. While the customer base may crossover a little, it’s usually a different end user. The installer would be attacking that installation differently than a Russound customer would be.”
He foresees the Colorado vNet name becoming another brand name (like the company’s Sphere product line,) within the Russound family. “It’s not someone who just sits on top of us and does the same thing we already do. It’s give us a tangent opportunity,” Hirshkind said.
On Monday afternoon, Russound CEO Charlie Porritt was on a plane headed to Colorado to begin his due diligence before finalizing the deal. The companies had already come to an agreement on price, according to Hirshkind. “It’s like we’re buying a house, and now we’re doing the inspection,” he said.