U.K. consumer specialist joins Linear stable - Embedded.com

U.K. consumer specialist joins Linear stable

LONDON — A U.S. specialist in radio frequency products has bought a U.K. based supplier of internet-connected, hard disk-based audio products and media appliances to strengthen its presence in Europe.

Linear (Carlsbad, CA,) has acquired Imerge (Cambridge, U.K.) to enhance its Home Technology Group and Dr. Bruce Macaulay, CEO of Imerge, as well as the rest of his management team, will stay on and continue to maintain independent service to OEM customers.

Grant D. Rummell, Linear Chairman, said, “Imerge is an excellent fit for our Home Technology Group. It gives us some new technologies and sales channels and of course it is a strong corporate brand and has solid product brands in the European market. We plan to help Imerge build on its successes.”

Imerge products include the XiVA media appliance technology, XiVA-Net entertainment portal for music and video products, and the SoundServer family of hard disk audio devices, which provide solid foundations for new-generation AV systems in single-output or multi-room, home-networked installations. Both XiVA and XiVA-Net are licensed to manufacturers, household brands, software, and service providers.

Linear is a pioneer in engineered radio frequency (RF) products and is a major supplier of wireless residential security systems, intercoms, garage door operators, gate operators, short and long-range radio remote controls, and medical/emergency reporting systems.

Imerge was set up in 1997 and spun out of the Generics Group in September 1998 to develop advanced products and services for the converging markets of audio, video, computer technology and the Internet.

The company’s first products were designed to store, categorise and forward video, audio and text to hard disk-based products for use in commercial environments. Customers in this sector have included RAW Communications, ABB and Future School.

In 2000, the company’s first consumer products hit the streets – the SoundServer Hard Disk Music System range, based on Imerge’s core technology, XiVA. Licensee products using XiVA soon followed from February 2001.

In January 2003 it secured further funding with Generics’ FSA-regulated fund manager, Generics Asset Management leeading the £1.53million round which was also supported by British Smaller Technology Companies VCT and British Smaller Companies VCT (both advised by Yorkshire Fund Managers Limited) and US-based JVB Private Equity.

In recent years Linear, through acquisition, expanded into consumer electronics, home entertainment products, and structured wiring systems for the builder market.

Recent acquisitions have included companies with the following brands and products: ChannelPlus whole house audio/video distribution systems; ELAN Home Systems multi-room audio/video equipment; M&S Systems intercoms and central vacuum systems; Niles Audio Corporation whole-house audio and home theater products; OmniMount audio/video equipment mounting solutions; OpenHouse structured wiring products; Panamax power conditioning products for home entertainment and home office electronics; SpeakerCraft and Proficient Audio Systems speakers and electronics; and Xantech infrared remote controls for home entertainment systems.

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