Sennheiser says it’s open to selling its consumer audio business

Technology

Sennheiser announced on Tuesday it’s looking for a new partner to buy its consumer audio business, which consists of headphones and soundbars. It’s going to shift its focus entirely to professional audio, including its Neumann microphone division and what Sennheiser calls business communications.

In a press release, Sennheiser says it wants to increase visibility in the competitive headphone and soundbar markets, and it thinks its products can be popular amid “strong competitive pressure.” But it needs an investor to make that happen. It also says that talks with potential partners will start soon.

“To be best able to exploit the potential in each of these markets, we are concentrating our own resources on the three business areas in the Professional division and are looking for a strong partner to invest in our Consumer business,” Daniel Sennheiser, co-CEO of Sennheiser, says in the press release.

German publication Handelsblatt recently posted an interview with Daniel and fellow co-CEO Andreas Sennheiser, in which the two brothers point to a number of potential reasons why Sennheiser is now exploring selling its consumer business. For one, the company was late to jump onboard with truly wireless headphones, which have become a very popular audio hardware segment. While Sennheiser apparently had record sales in 2019 (€393 million, representing 52 percent of its 2019 sales), it ended up slightly negative after taxes and interest.

More recently, headphone sales haven’t been as good as expected. Daniel Sennheiser said during the summer that “competitive pressure has increased significantly,” and its profit margins at the time were “under pressure.” It also cut 650 jobs worldwide, leaving the company with around 2,800 employees currently.

Sennheiser’s press release makes it seem like the company is interested in partners to fund its consumer audio business, but it isn’t opposed to selling it off completely. The Sennheiser brothers told Handelsblatt that “all options are open,” and that “it is important to us that all business areas emerge stronger from the realignment.”