Knowles buys Audience for $85 million

May 05, 2015 //By Peter Clarke
Knowles buys Audience for $85 million
MEMS microphone supplier Knowles Corp. (Itasca, Illinois) has agreed to acquire Audience Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) for $85 million net of a cash balance of $44 million.

Audience is a provider of audio and noise suppression processors for Android equipment and recently acquired software company Sensor platforms for $41 million to help it expand into sound-plus-motion context awareness.

The combination of Knowles and Audience provides an alternative to Cirrus Logic, a market leader that acquired Wolfson Microelectroncs plc in 2014. Microphones and audio processors with extremely low power for always-on are being deployed for use as wake-up systems in mobile equipment.

Knowles is paying approximately $5.00 per share with half in cash and half in Knowles common stock. Knowles expects to fund the cash portion of the transaction through existing cash and a draw down from existing credit lines.

"This acquisition will benefit our customers and shareholders by broadening our intelligent audio offerings, and will uniquely position us to deliver end-to-end solutions for acoustics – from microphones to signal processing to speakers," said Jeffrey Niew, CEO of Knowles, in a statement.

"Audience and Knowles have pioneered the revolution in connected device audio capabilities," said Peter Santos, CEO of Audience, in the same statement. "The combination of the audio and sensory intelligence of Audience and the acoustic expertise and scale of Knowles creates a truly unique audio and sensory systems company."

The deal is expected to close in 3Q15.

Knowles made a net loss of $15.8 million on revenues of $238.6 million in 1Q15. This compared with a net profit of $7.6 million on revenues of $273.4 million in the same quarter a year before.

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