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COMMENT: How Sound United Screwed The Klipsch Group & Voxx International

The acquisition of Melbourne based Qualifi by Sound United is set to create Australia’s largest audio Company and is a move that will take on Vox International and their Klipsch and Premium Audio operations who are struggling to set up in Australia, after they axed Qualifi as their distributor in what they though was a move that would hurt Qualifi.

Now Michael Hendriksen and Sound United has had the last laugh.

The Sound United brands include Denon, Bowers & Wilkins, Marantz, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, Classé, HEOS and Boston Acoustics and they can take on anything thrown at them by Klipsch or their parent Company Voxx International.

The disloyalty of former Qualifi Sales Manager Peter Shamoon and former General Manager Phil Hawkins who are now working on the setting up of a new Klipsch Premium Audio subsidiary in Australia, following the axing of Qualifi by Klipsch has played right into the hands of Hendriksen who now has a deal with one of the worlds’ biggest audio Companies along with some of the worlds best audio brands.

The way in which Qualifi was axed has left a bitter taste in the mouths of retailers and custom installers many who have worked with Hendriksen for more than 30 years.

The fact that while employed by Qualifi they were plotting to try and bring down there employer has shocked many in the industry.

What Sound United have got is one of the best audio distribution Companies in Australia, a product range that will take on Premium Audio Products and Klipsch products and a one of the best audio industry management teams in Australia.

The announcement of the deal comes as Audio Products Group and Klipsch management scramble to set up a distribution operation, recruit staff and above all employ senior management to run the business.

ChannelNews understands that recently APA management approached a Melbourne based executive to work for them in a senior role he rejected the opportunity after reading about the extent that Klipsch management went to into the recruitment of Qualifi employees while employed by Qualifi and while Qualifi was still the official distributor of Klipsch products in Australia.

It appears that US and Singapore based management of Voxx International had no qualms in trying to take down their appointed distributor by engaging with Qualifi staff prior to the termination of the Melbourne based business who over a four your period doubled the Klipsch business in Australia.
Now they are faced with having to compete with a global archival who has acquired a business that knows everything about Klipsch in Australia.

During the past month Qualifi has been pumping Klipsch stock into the Australian audio channel with both specialist dealers, Harvey Norman, and online retailers such as Digital Cinema being offered discount deals.

One observer said, “It’s going to be very hard for Klipsch to sell any stock for the next six months as Qualifi have basically been emptying their warehouse of Klipsch stock and dealers from West Coast Hi Fi to Harvey Norman are offering Klipsch deals”.

The next big problem for the Vox International Company is that Sound United have bought the Polk brand back into the Qualifi stable and effective from March they will be selling this brand into the Australian Channel. ChannelNews understands that at least one major retailer is now looking at selling Polk audio gear.

During recent days ChannelNews understands that Shamoon the former sales manager at Qualifi has recruited more Qualifi staff who were facing being retrenched as well as being surplus to requirement as Sound United already has a sales operation in Australia.

In the future Sound United will be able to utilise the existing Bowers & Wilkins sales team following the acquisition of the UK audio Company late last year.

Former Qualifi General Manager Phil Hawkins who was set to take on an International role with Premium Audio Group has been moved into a logistic roll as the US Company desperately tries to establish an Australian subsidiary and a distribution operation.

Vinny Bonacorsi Vice President at Klipsch Group pictured with Peter Shamoon left below has not commented on the move by Sound United who from Monday will be selling Polk products in Australia after the brand was shifted from Westan to what will be the Sound United owned Qualifi.

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