Bang & Olufsen tipped for sale

Danish audiovisual manufacturer and retailer Bang & Olufsen has confirmed it is in talks with a prospective buyer.

The upmarket brand, usually referred to as B&O, is renowned for its unique exterior designs of televisions, stereo systems and telephones. Its share price leapt 25 per cent in late trading on Friday after the announcement.

The company’s two largest shareholders are Delta Lloyd, a Dutch insurance company, with 14.7 per cent and Danish pension fund ATP, with 12.4 per cent.

B&O has posted a loss for the last three consecutive trading years, impacted by the general trend away from high end audio equipment to digital players. Analysts say the brand has failed to attract younger consumers for its premium priced products.

“The company has initiated a dialogue to investigate and analyse the firmness of these approaches,” B&O said in a statement, without releasing any further details.

The company was founded in 1925 by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, whose first significant product was a radio that worked with alternating current at a time when most radios were powered by batteries.

The most likely bidder would be a private equity company with a turnaround plan involving building the brand in the Asian market and attracting a broader consumer base.

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