The McIntosh Group Sells Audio Research Corporation to TWS Enterprises LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota (August 25, 2020) – TWS Enterprises, LLC, a privately held company owned wholly by Trent Suggs, has agreed to purchase Audio Research from the McIntosh Group, Inc. subject to completion of due diligence which is expected to be finalized by the end of August. As Audio Research celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, it is time to embark on the next chapter of its journey in high performance music reproduction.

During the past six years that Audio Research has been owned by the McIntosh Group, it has enjoyed expanded marketing opportunities and exposure to new market segments. The Design Lab at McIntosh Group also defined a new industrial design incorporating iconic elements of past products while introducing a refined, modernized aesthetic. Audio Research products were showcased with the other brands of the McIntosh group, providing wide market visibility in the United States and internationally. The support and friendship is truly appreciated.

‘It has been an honor and privilege to lead Audio Research for the past 3 years’, says Jeff Poggi, Co-CEO McIntosh Group. ‘It is with mixed emotions that we are selling Audio Research. It has been rewarding to work with the passionate team of audiophile enthusiasts and craftspeople that make Audio Research the most respected high-end valve electronics company in the world. Yet, I couldn’t be happier knowing that the brand will be under great leadership with Trent Suggs at the helm.’

There will be two familiar additions to the team: Trent Suggs will rejoin the company with dual roles, as President and as Director of North American Sales; Brandon Lauer will rejoin Audio Research with dual roles, as Director of International Sales and as Director of Marketing. Dave Gordon will assume the role of Managing Director. No other staff changes have been planned. Product development, engineering, and manufacturing remain at the company’s 20,000 square foot facility in Maple Grove, a suburb west of Minneapolis. The unique culture and processes of Audio Research will remain and will become core functions of the company’s future development. Audio Research’s value of high-performance music playback will remain at the center of all development, to continue the brand’s exceptional reputation within the market.

‘I am extremely excited for this opportunity to be back as a part of Audio Research. As former North American Sales Director, I was able to build upon the excellence associated with this corporation. Jeff and the McIntosh Group have been instrumental during this process, and to them many thanks. We look forward to our continued relationships with our valued partners for another 50 years. Being part of such an amazing organization is truly an honor. Audio Research will continue our never-ending pursuit for excellence.’ - Trent Suggs.

TWS Enterprises, LLC is a privately-owned company created to hold Audio Research equities; it is not part of a group. The objective for TWS Enterprises is to further enhance brand reputation and to focus on the unique processes that nourish the culture and product innovation at Audio Research. Maximizing workforce talents while returning to small company values will allow Audio Research to strengthen its relationships, respond quickly to market demands, and continue to build some of the most sought-after electronics available today.

Audio Research Corporation was founded in 1970 by William Z. Johnson and is one of the oldest manufacturers of vacuum tube electronics in the world. Founded with the singular goal to advance the state-of-the-art in music reproduction, today it is one of the most recognized brands in high performance music playback systems.

Montpier's picture

Hopefully a good move for the long term health of ARC (and handles). Seemed kind of odd that ARC and McIntosh under same umbrella.

Presumably the re-branding of Fine Sounds to "The McIntosh Group" and their portfolio embracing more "lifestyle" positioned offerings (Pryma) made ARC less of a good fit with future direction, especially after the apparent Galileo line misstep: Midwest Americana functionality + Italian design = ???

xtcfan80's picture

Lordy.... this press release features some world class corporate wanking..... High end audio suffers from the same marketing/ image/branding issues of mainstream businesses ....too bad

Lazer's picture

What you expect them to say. It was a professionally written press release. I was happy to learn that ARC was not bought by an investment group with multiple diverse holdings in audio and other industries. Just my 2 cents but I hope this gives ARC the autonomy to run their company and innovate products the way they always have.

rich d's picture

At first glance this deal looks like a comfy fit for the seller and the buyer. I hope the new owner is sufficiently flush to weather current conditions and dump some R&D moolah into ARC. They're good folks with good products and they deserve to stick around.

Ortofan's picture

...take a page out of the McIntosh playbook and produce 50th Anniversary versions of the SP-3 preamp and the D-76 power amp?
They have about 3-4 years to work on it.

Fsonicsmith's picture

I am very happy to see this. Being under an umbrella of brands has never been a good thing in audio, as far as I can remember. Brand identity gets homogenized. Individual brands struggle to not become the ignored step-child. I think of Classe'. I don't profess to know much about Trent Suggs, but it sounds as though he has a long history with ARC, and hearing that all of the key staff at ARC will remain in place sounds encouraging. Now if only ARC would find a way to either source KT150's that are both reliable and less expensive or simply ditch the KT150 for another tube. Presently, ARC wants $280 for each KT150 which means over $2,000 for fresh tubes for my Ref 150 SE. ARC has become a life-style brand meaning prices that more for show than for blow. I will spend money, but I want a closer performance/dollar ratio.

xtcfan80's picture

Agreed, ARC is a very cool company making some of the best gear anywhere.