He accepts, and a few days later, he arrives with some vacuum tubes, cables and his preamplifier, which he’s curious to hear on my system.
Text and photos by Juan C. Ayllon
CHICAGO -- My wife, Belle, and I had enjoyed listening to his Destination Audio Horn Loudspeakers so much at Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) that when I heard that Warsaw, Poland’s Sam Wisniewski (the principal at Destination Audio) was staying in town through May 21st to present his speakers to the Chicago Audio Society, I invited him to join us at our house for a listening session on my home system and dinner.
He accepts, and a few days later, he arrives with some vacuum tubes, cables and his preamplifier, which he’s curious to hear on my system.
Text and photos by Juan C. Ayllon
ROSEMONT, IL, April 22, 2017 — Topping seven and a half feet tall, the shimmery black monoliths sport two sealed and self-powered 1,000 watt 15-inch subwoofers, four nine-inch ceramic mid-bass drivers, two seven-inch ceramic mid-rangers, two beryllium tweeters, and two five-inch aluminum ribbon super tweeters (one rear-firing). Each. They are two towering angelic beings standing amongst a series of pillar-like bass traps. Their voices -- luscious, full, pure, detailed and never sibilant -- caress and envelop the enchanted crowd below. Other-worldly and sublime — they are the very best in the show by informal consensus.
At $295,000, the Ultra 11s are the “cost is no object” flagship of Von Schweikert Audio, one of 400 vendors showcasing their best to 6,723 attendees at Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) at the Westin O’Hare from April 21-23.
Text and photos by Juan C. Ayllon
ROSEMONT, IL, April 22, 2017 -- He’d gained notoriety with the Do-It-Yourself audiophile community with his blog on vacuum tube based projects, and after leaving his position of Poland General Manager in a multinational corporation, Lukasz Fikus founded LampizatOr, a company that gained notoriety in the industry building amazing sounding Digital to Analog Converters (which convert digital music stored as 0s and 1s to analog for playback).
Of slender build, Fikus, 52, talks just outside the Dearborn Room at the Westin O’Hare, where his $15,400 Golden Gate DAC is one of the select components sourcing the massive, 7 ½’ tall Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 11 loudspeakers in their debut at Audio Expo North America (AXPONA).
On being at AXPONA 2017:
I am extremely happy to be in Chicago. This is my third time and by far the most successful and enjoyable. It’s a great show this year -- especially since I’m going to see Patricia Barber on Monday night! Chicago wouldn’t be Chicago without ‘Blues Brothers’ and Patricia Barber!
On his Golden Gate DAC being featured in arguably the best in the show’s, ‘cost is no object’ Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 11 loudspeaker ($295,000) demonstration system:
We just heard for the first time our DAC in Von Schweikert’s factory demonstration room and in our history, it’s an achievement that is unmatched because for the manufacturer, for the maker, it’s one thing to make something, or produce, or invent, or design, but it’s absolutely another thing to see that somebody else liked it and applied it in a system say ten times bigger and more expensive than we’ve ever imagined! So, in the context of this unbelievable, monumental system, our DAC shows what it can do -- and even me as a maker, I never realized that. So, you can imagine that this is an extremely, extremely important moment and day in my life.
On the debut of his new Golden Atlantic DAC:
We try to apply the trickle down process from the flagship Golden Gate DAC to be more accessible and more available with a lower price. There are certain things that we can do to make the DAC more accessible, and that line is called Atlantic. It’s a debut in the AXPONA show of our Golden Atlantic (which start at $8,800), which is the best of the Atlantic family. And you can hear it in our room. We believe it’s the best ‘bang for buck’ you can have because all the important elements, like R2R technology, which is the chipless discrete resistor ladder conversion technology, combined with the old type of DAC with heated triodes and a very simple circuit -- and the best materials, best capacitors -- gives us the sound that is impossible to achieve any other way, in our opinion.
So, by making the Atlantic, we made Golden Gate type of experience accessible to the middle class income people. And I’m very proud of it. I don’t want to be perceived as an expensive manufacturer.
On what’s coming down the pipeline at LampizatOr:
The pipeline is always busy. We have our staff always developing things. Mainly now, we will focus on the third level for the DAC. So, we are developing the line below Atlantic to be even more accessible especially in Europe and in markets less wealthy than the United States so that the Amber project is getting a new second generation, and it’s going to bring everything we know about making good DACs to the sub-$3,000 level. So, it’s going to be a major step in our strategic development.
Also, we just launched speakers, which is something new, but not for me as a person. I consider myself a speaker guy. I’ve been doing speakers for 25 years and the DACs for only seven years. I brought back my best designs, and now I’m trying to market them as a sellable product. And so far, the earliest buyers are raving about them. I hope that this will again be very accessible. For less than $5,000, you get amazing three-way speakers -- nothing like Von Schweikert, but something that actually people can relate to and have room.
On their speaker:
It’s a P-17. It’s an iteration of Project P-17 (from his old DIY speaker pages -- see http://lampizator.eu/SPEAKERS/Loudspeakers.html ). As a student, I used to make these projects that took roughly one year to complete. I chose number 17 as the most easily manufacturable and also the best sounding one. After this number 17, I started complicating things too much, throwing four-ways, five-ways and so on. So, the simplicity of the three-way, open baffle, paper drivers technology and ribbon tweeters -- this is something that is my statement, this is my sound. And I want people to experience it with my electronics. I don’t want to give my electronics to work with speakers that I don’t know and I can’t control. I would be extremely happy if people had the whole system from us obviously not only for financial reasons, but also for the coherence.
I’m glad we have a chance to take part in AXPONA because nothing is more exciting than meeting your own customers in person at a show like this, shaking lots of hands, hearing their feedback, and getting motivation for the next year developments. So, without shows, we wouldn’t be able to grow.
Text and photos by Juan C. Ayllon
ROSEMONT, IL, April 22, 2017 -- His father, Albert Von Schweikert was an accomplished musician, engineer and speaker designer when he founded Von Schweikert Audio over 30 years ago and now Damon Von Schweikert, 47, serving as CEO since 2015, debuts their seven and a half feet tall Ultra 11 loudspeakers at Audio Expo North America (AXPONA). He's looking sharp in his spectacles, black suit and tie. Standing roughly 5’ 7” and sporting spiked black hair and a salt and pepper beard, his pride in their $295,000 flagship -- arguably the best in the show -- is evident as he takes a few minutes to talk outside the Dearborn Room at the Westin O’Hare, where the Ultra 11s wow all who enter with their transcendent, clear and full-bodied presentation.
On this weekend’s experience at AXPONA 2017:
It’s a whirlwind. We’ve been preparing for the debut of our Ultima 11s (pronounced, “elevens”) here in America for at least five months. It’s been quite a big process. We did debut the speaker originally in Singapore last year, but we were very excited to bring them to AXPONA. It’s a big part of the North American circuit, and...I hope that people get a chance to hear the advances we’ve made in loudspeaker performance.
On what makes this presentation of the Ultra 11s special:
Specifically in the Ultra 11s, over four and a half years, we’ve been developing new technology. There’s quite a bit of new proprietary elements to it both in signal path purity, component separation and driver speed. We focus on every aspect of lowering distortion levels -- the drivers, the cabinets, the signal path, the crossovers. And achievements here and there have led to a significant lump sum performance.
And with the debut, we wanted to employ manufacturers that provided that same type of low distortion, ultimate performance products. And that’s how we partnered up with companies like LampizatOr, VAC, Masterbuilt Audio, Kronos, YFS (Your Final System), J Corder as well with their tape deck, and Artesania racks. All of that have come together to provide what we’re doing here today.
On specific technology employed in the Ultra 11 speaker:
I always perceive our product development as a series of revolutionary jumps, followed by evolutionary ones. So basically some new technology comes in that we use for signal path, cabinets, driver technology, crossovers -- and it will change (the level) we’re able to perform at. And what will happen is a series of iterations while we’re refining that technology -- those revolutionary peaks fully drive our technology forward.
On how the Ultra 11 came to be
About four and a half years ago, we worked on the VL 411s for a customer. It was a one-off speaker. He commissioned it. He basically said, “I love your flagship, but what if you weren’t restrained by price? What would you do?”
And it was this focus and source that influenced several different methods -- the cabinet, driver, signal path, crossover components. And during the three and a half years of developing that speaker, we made these breakthroughs in all these areas.
The minute we put his finished product next to our flagship, we realized very quickly that it was time to redo our flagships. We could dramatically improve the purity of feedback for purity of performance, running our signal source through this low distortion technology.
The VL 55 received some elements of that. It came out a few years ago in the process of developing these technologies for other customers. It benefited specifically in the driver technology -- the Acuphase and the various tuners that we use - fast, very high purity, quality and speed.
But the Ultra 11s actually benefit from all of the technology -- that includes the Ultra Wire, which is not sourced from audio wire; it’s a significant investment and can only be done on a product with this “cost is no object” status.
And then also the crossovers: part of it we do is proprietary. We call it a Cap Pocket. We look for different processes that have certain performance aesthetics. Just like you would synergize a system, we would synergize the network through these parts and also isolation. We place the networks completely apart so we don’t have radiation patterns and crosstalk. It lowers that noise level dramatically.
And what’s weird is even is if you lower the noise level in a subwoofer network, provide cleaner power to the amplifier or signal path of that network, it has an impact on the whole frequency range. You’ll hear better highs when you have less distortion coming out of your subwoofer.
So, it’s just hyper-focus. And that’s what we’re showing here.
On looking ahead for Von Schweikert Audio
Now, I can assure you that there will be more trickle-down technology now that we’ve established our flagship through the rest of our line. We’ll be working on that for the next several years.
Shop the latest products, enjoy live concerts, partake in compelling seminars, and more
ROSEMONT, IL (March 28, 2017) - - Now in its 8th year AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) continues to entice audiophiles, music lovers, musicians and seasoned audio experts looking to enhance their Listening Room, Media Room, and Office with the latest technology from stereo systems, home audio speakers, headphones, turntables and much more. The show, which returns to the Westin Hotel in Rosemont April 21-23, will feature 400 exhibitors and offers attendees the enviable opportunity to touch, test, and shop the newest gadgets in high-end consumer audio products. Featuring 140 interactive listening rooms, an Ear Gear Expo, Live Concerts, seminars and much more, AXPONA 2017 will encompass 8 floors of the hotel. Add these 10 “must-do’s” to agenda to experience the best of AXPONA:
1.What’s BIG in the Audio World in 2017?
Friday, April 21, 10:15-11:15am
It is an exciting time for audio! Record pressing plants are opening, even more artists are issuing albums on vinyl, and Millennials are heading back to the record store. The world is streaming and high fidelity playback is making even more headway this year. Four top media pro’s in the audio and tech industry from Tech.co, CNET, Enjoy The Music and Stereophile share the insider scoop on trends and products making waves in 2017.
2. Live Evening Concerts
Ticketholders are treated to entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings and offer music lovers the enviable opportunity to experience top performers in an intimate venue. AXPONA attendees will enjoy an all-star line-up for its weekend live concert series including Jazz and Blues artists’ the Frank Catalano Band, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Billy Branch and Mud Morganfield. After a jam-packed day of visiting Listening Rooms and testing the best audio equipment on the market, attendees can sit back, relax, reset their ears and enjoy live music.
3. Audio Adventure Scavenger Hunt
The Scavenger Hunt at AXPONA is a great way to explore the show and discover companies and products you may not be familiar with! When you finish, you will be entered to win an AMEX giftcard prize! It’s simple, pick up a scavenger hunt guide when you arrive at the show, visit all of the companies indicated to receive a stamp at each, and return your completed guide to the box at AXPONA registration.
4. Ear Gear Expo
An expanded expo dedicated entirely to the art of the headphone. See the world's top brands reveal their latest and greatest gear including noise-cancelling, bluetooth wireless headphones from top manufacturers including HiFiMan, Sennheiser, Shure Incorporated, Cleer Inc, and Empire Ears.
5. “High-Resolution Audio Perception”
Have you ever wondered what high-resolution audio actually sounds like? What it could mean to you? And how it might help many of your entertainment experiences feel so real? Visit the “High-Resolution Audio Perception” exhibit presented by ImmersAV Technology. It’s free of charge to all show attendees!
6. Listening Rooms
See and touch superbly designed, high-performance systems in over 140 dedicated listening rooms crafted by the best in the business. Experience sound like never before in room settings, perfect to inspire sound systems for your media room, man cave or home office! Must see rooms include Auralic, Burwell & Sons, Dan D’Agostino, GamuT, Horch House, Magico, MoFi Distribution, Paragon Sight & Sound, Quintessence Audio, Saturday Audio, THIEL Audio, and Von Schweikert Audio.
7. Product Debuts from World-Renowned Manufacturers
Be the first to shop the latest product debuts from top brands who will be introducing headphones, speakers, cables, turntables and amplifiers at AXPONA. Experience the newest technology in audio gear and add these newbies to your wish list! Daedalus Audio Apollo Floorstanding Speaker, Magico S3 Mk II, Mojo Audio Déjà Vu Music Server, Vanatoo Transparent Zero, Wyred 4 Sound Statement Amplifier, Thiel Audio 40th Anniversary 40.3 Speaker, Legacy Calibre, TIDAL Audio Akira Loudspeaker, plus many more.
Discover and shop thousands of parts, components, gear, accessories, vinyl, portable speakers and turntables all in one place from manufacturers like Holm Audio, Elusive Disc, Morrow Audio, Music Direct, Nordost, and Red Dragon Audio,.
9. Stream The Studio Exhibit
Stream The Studio, an exhibit sponsored by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, will highlight some of the next generation studio-quality subscription music services that can support both Hi-Res Audio and advanced user features. The exhibit also includes demonstrations of some of the latest hi-res compatible devices, along with a variety of music clips in various genres.
10. Reviewer’s View Live and Raffle presented by AVShowrooms
It’s a wrap! Join AVShowrooms for a sneak preview of their favorite highlights from the show and be entered to win over $2,200 of equipment including (2) FOZ XTRs, (2) FOZ SSX, from Jolida and a Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 300! AVShowrooms will also announce the winner of the $8,000 Von Schweikert E-3 MkII loudspeaker raffle. Tickets are available at registration and must be validated at the Von Schweikert Endeavor exhibit- Lobby Dearborn Room.
AXPONA will be open Friday and Saturday 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday 10 am – 4 pm.
The Westin O’Hare is located at 6100 North River Road. The Westin O’Hare is located 6100 North River Road. Parking is available at the Westin’s self-parking lot for a discounted rate of $10/day for AXPONA attendees and exhibitors. A discount ticket is needed in order to get the discounted rate. Discount tickets can be picked up at AXPONA registration during AXPONA event hours.
To purchase tickets or for more information about the event, please visit www.axpona.com or call 203-371-6322.
About JD Events
JD Events is dedicated to the creation of targeted and innovative industry-leading events that deliver results. The company brings together highly qualified buying audiences, education-rich content and high-level networking opportunities -- all geared toward increasing business transactions in the markets it serves. For more information, visit: http://www.jdevents.com.
Quick Hits: Teleconference Highlights from ‘Triple G’ Gennady Golovkin & Team on Upcoming Daniel Jacobs Showdown
By Juan C. Ayllon
March 7, 2017 – “Triple G” is the ultimate pressure fighter. Opponents usually collapse from an aggregate of punches slamming head and body. However, at 36-0 with 33 knockouts, the undefeated champion from Kazakhstan, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, is not doing one-on-one interviews prior to his showdown little over a week away.
Perhaps he’s feeling a little pressure, himself. At 34, he’s nearing the twilight of his career and on March 18th, he faces a young lion, four years his junior, Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-1, 29 KO’s), a product of Brownsville, New York’s mean streets who combines advantages in speed, movement, height (6’ 0” to Golovkin’s 5’ 10 ½”) and reach (73” to Golovkin’s 70”) with a wicked boxer-puncher style, making him a formidable threat.
At stake are Golovkin’s World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organization World Middleweight titles, a potential mega-million dollar match versus Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (who faces the popular Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. for Cinco de Mayo on May 6th) – and maybe, just maybe a dream fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. whose most recent opponents made fortunes facing him.
Taking precious moments away from training, Golovkin teamed up with his trainer, Abel Sanchez, and promoter, Tom Loeffler of K- 2 Promotions, to field questions from a bevy of reporters via international teleconference.
On Golovkin’s power:
Abel Sanchez (who holds the punching drill mitts for Golovkin): “I’ve never had a fighter hit me as hard as he has. You feel it at night when you go to bed; the shoulders hurt, but that’s part of the job. I feel for those in the ring who get hit by him!”
Gennady Golovkin: “Of course, it’s very important for me. It’s not just power, but timing – not just lucky punching.”
On whether Jacob’s knockout streak suggests that a knockout is inevitable:
GG: “I dunno. This is boxing. Danny has maybe power. He has power, but not just punch. He’s a very good boxer.”
On training for Danny Jacobs:
AS: “(Golovkin has) learned to adapt to bigger guys throughout his career. (Jacob’s) punching power is my concern. We brought in sparring partners to help prepare. David Benavidez is 6’3”, John Jackson is 6’ 0.”
Tom Loeffler: “He trains hard for every fight. He’s going to prepare to be the best that he can be. It doesn’t change with the opponent.”
On Jacob’s sole knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog in 2010 suggesting a weak chin:
AS: “I don’t think he was unable to continue. He was being held down (by referee Robert Byrd). We’re concerned with his punching power and his ability to box.”
GG: “He’s dangerous for me. He’s great man. He’s very good as boxer and very good as (a) man.”
On defense being more of a priority considering he got hit a lot in his last defense versus Kell Brook:
AS: “Defense has always been a priority since we began together. To land the type of shot he likes to land (it opens him up to counter punches), it’s a concern. It’s always a concern. It’s part of the game. If he didn’t fight his style (that favors aggression over defense), we wouldn’t be sitting here talking. He is the kind of fighter he is by his choice.”
GG: “Right now, I think he’s the best (I’ve fought in my career).”
On how they’ll handle it if Golovkin gets knocked down:
AS: “We’ve never discussed that. We don’t believe in being negative. Natural instinct comes in. It’s part of the game; it’s part of the business.”
GG: “I don’t know. I have no idea, really.”
On how they see the fight unfolding:
AS: “I think that Danny will be aggressive. I think he will come out and draw a line. With the addition of (trainer) Virgil (Hunter), I think they understand that they’ll have to get his respect. Maybe the first round is a crazy round, and rounds two, three, four, five will be more tactical.”
On fighting Jacobs at Madison Square Garden:
GG: “I’ve very excited, I’m very happy. It’s like my second home – great atmosphere, great people – the best people in the world!”
On Floyd Mayweather, Jr. denigrating Golovkin, but fighting Mixed Martial Artist Connor McGregor instead:
AS: “I think by him talking about his deficiencies it says a lot…If (Gennady) is so flat footed, if he is so beatable, then he can be one of the three (that face Golovkin this year).”
For Golovkin, who previously expressed a willingness to drop down from the 160 lb. middleweight limit to 154, this would be the ultimate payday. But first, he needs to get by Daniel Jacobs, which may indeed be a tall order.
Gennady Golovkin versus Daniel Jacobs will be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View on Saturday, March 18.
Candid ‘Foodie’ Keith Thurman Plans to Feast on Danny Garcia for Welterweight Title Unification Bout March 4th!
By Juan C. Ayllon
Gym photos by Chris Getty
CLEARWATER, FL, February 25, 2017 — A week out from his Welterweight Championship unification bout versus World Boxing Council champion Danny Garcia (33-0 19 knockouts) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the lithe and muscular, 5’ 7 1/2” tall World Boxing Association kingpin Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KO’s) packs a keen mind along with the muscle, athleticism and pop — a point he demonstrates when he recalls our interview at a shopping mall in his native Clearwater, Florida in 2012.
“You’re the one I linked up with at Target — I remember that,” he says. “It’s been a while, though. It’s been a while.”
Prior to turning pro, Thurman, 28, had an amateur career record of 101 wins (76 KO’s) that included six National Championships and a loss to Demetrius Andrade at the 2008 US Olympic Trials that netted him the Silver Medal. Managed by powerbroker Al Haymon, he works out at St. Pete’s Boxing Club in St. Petersburg, Florida with longtime trainer Dan Birmingham, who owns the gym and replaced Ben Getty (who’d discovered him as a seven year-old) after Getty passed; his son, Chris Getty serves on Team Thurman.
Nicknamed, "One Time" for his mind-numbing one-shot power, he dealt ex-champion Shawn Porter the hardest punch he'd ever experienced, according to Porter, in Thurman's exciting close championship victory over him last June.
With the pressure and ardors of training and cutting weight for his biggest fight yet, the ponytailed warrior is affable, thoughtful and candid. However, he’s also intensely private; when asked if there’s anyone special in his life, the calm gives way to fire.
“Get off it. Don’t even talk to me about that (expletive),” he snaps. “I want boxing reporters to report boxing and boxing only.”
Point taken, and like an afternoon Florida thunderstorm, the moment passes, giving way to sun as he fields my questions via cellphone from his car.
“Ten weeks,” he says when asked how long he’s trained for Garcia. “You’ve got gym work — you’ve got sparring two or three times a week, heavy bag, double end bag, mitt work.
“I brought in some band work this training camp — work with the resistant band training. I tend to like it a lot. I’ll probably start using it more often in my camps. (There’s) a lot of core work with my aunt this training camp. She’s my strength coach. Very little weight lifting — more high rep, but I did do some weights for the legs. And we use a workout piece of equipment — she likes to use it a lot: the GRX. (We also do) the typical late night cardio — doing 45 minutes up to an hour, an hour (and) twenty (minutes) — depending on the night of cardio.
“I don’t really concern myself with over-training. I listen to my body. If I feel like I’m over-training, I just pull back, make sure I get a little extra bit of rest, and then we get back to work.”
On concerns and strengths he sees in Garcia and how he plans on dealing with that:
“First off, my concern is that I have none. No concern,” he says matter-of-factly.
“At the end of the day, this is boxing. This is the life that I live, this is what I’ve always loved, what I dreamed I’d do, and this is nothing new: I’m fighting somebody strong, I’m fighting somebody fast, I’m fighting somebody tall, I’m fighting somebody short. I had over a hundred fights in the amateurs. There’s nothing new to keep one concerned at night.
“But, Garcia’s a very solid fighter. He’s well composed and willing to trade. He throws big punches in the ring. I believe I have a more powerful punch than him, but he has his own power punch and he’s hurt many before, so we’re going to have to respect that. But, all in all, we believe we have what it takes to take care of the job Saturday night.”
On what’s next if all goes well against Garcia and if he’s interested in the winner of International Boxing Federation Welterweight Champion Kell Book versus undefeated knockout artist Errol Spence, Jr.:
“We’re definitely interested in putting all these belts together, creating an undisputed champion in the welterweight division. That’s always been my ultimate goal, and Garcia’s the first step towards that.
“There’s no talking about what’s next after this. It’s too big a fight. You never know what’s going to happen. There could be injuries, all sorts of stuff that occur. In matches, who says what’s going to happen when two power punchers get together? I was cut in my last fight, I suffered a hematoma in another fight. So, you know what I’m saying? It’s too big a fight back-to-back. So, I really don’t know what’s going to happen next.
“I’d like to stay busy. Maybe a stay-busy fight, because waiting for the Kell Brook, blah, blah, blah. There’s a lot of waiting. They’re going to have to recover from their match, get back in training camp, blah, blah, blah. It’s not going to be quick turnaround to make these fights happen for the fight fans.
“I do believe that we will face the winner of that, but in regards to time line, the question is when. It’s not right around the corner; I think there’s going to be more of a build-up to it. We’ll see, man. I just look forward to this fight.”
On whether he is still interested in fighting Manny Pacquiao:
Yes. I’m interested in fighting Pacquiao, I’m interesting in fighting everyone who’s champion. Outside of that, Pacquiao is a legend in the sport, you know, and I’d love to have somebody like him on my resume. I heard rumors that he’s going to fight Amir Khan, but who knows?
On investing for retirement:
“It’s funny that you mention that ‘cause…this year happens to be the first year where I’m sitting down with some financial advisors and I want to start putting together a retirement plan. The thing that is really important to acknowledge is that fighters need to be smart with their money, trying to put together retirement plans for themselves.”
“People in general — they come across this money and they start to elevate their style of living. They start treating their family really nice. Sometimes they treat their friends really nice and, at the end of the day, you never forget yourself, but the money’s not going to keep coming in. With that in mind, you’re going to have to setup for retirement, and we plan on doing that soon.”
On what Keith Thurman is like when the camera lights are off and he’s not training — how he lets off steam nowadays:
“I like to travel, man. I like to travel and I like to eat. I like to wine and dine, go to the really nice restaurants.”
I can hear the smile in his voice.
“Last year after the Shawn Porter fight, I went to Alinea in Chicago with (Chef) Grant Achatz — that’s probably the most amazing meal I had in my whole life. I feel like I can die a happier man eating the food of Grant Achatz!
“Then, we went out to California to Napa Valley and I ate a French laundry! I’m just a little bit of a foodie, man. So by being a champion, there’s a whole lot of things I get to experience. When they come to my fights, they experience world class entertainment. I like world class chef-ism, man.”
On plans after boxing:
“No plans after boxing because I’m still boxing. Talk to me after I retire.”
On fellow gym mate Edner Cherry’s statement that Danny Garcia is there to be hit and it should be a short night.
“That’s a true statement. I mean, that’s how we feel. We’re very confident going into this fight, we believe Danny is there to be hit and he’s never been hit like Keith Thurman can hit him. We’re going to test him to the head, we’re going to test him to the body, we’re going to test him round by round, and we’re hoping to put him down.”
“Just tune in Saturday night, March fourth. It’s gonna be a fight to remember, a historical night of boxing — two undefeated champions going toe-to-toe! And, for all the supporters I have out there, thank you so much for all your love and support.”
I thank him for the interview and he says, “It’s all good, my man. Thanks very much.”
Promoted by Premier Boxing Champions, Thurman versus Garcia will be presented on CBS Saturday, March 4th at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time, 8 PM Central Standard Time and 6 PM Pacific Standard Time.
By Juan C. Ayllon
CHICAGO, January 2, 2017 —His father, Miguel Hernandez, had just signed with 8 Count Productions and was fighting for the Illinois State Middleweight title against gritty Nathan Martin in the main event. As part of the deal, though, eight year-old Joshuah was fighting an amateur bout against a boxing commissioner’s son, Manny Gallegos. Reporting from ringside at the packed DePaul Athletic Center on June 4, 2004, I described the action this way:
A spirited bout between 70-pounders, Joshuah Hernandez and Manny Gallegos kicked off the festivities to the wild cheers of an appreciative crowd. The son of popular headliner “Macho” Miguel Hernandez, the free-swinging Joshuah gave a good account and made his father very proud in winning a gutsy majority split decision.
Fast forward to today. In addition to winning the Illinois State Middleweight title that night by disqualification (“He was going to get his ass kicked,” Miguel says), the senior Hernandez won the WBC USNBC middleweight title and fought in the boxing reality show, ‘The Contender’ in 2007 in notching a record of 20 wins (10 by knockout) and 12. Now retired, he works as a car inspector with the railways, spending time with his younger sons, Jeovani, 17, Justin, 16, and training Joshuah — who is now 21, signed with Warriors Boxing, and continues to wow the locals — especially the Puerto Ricans (which the Hernandez’s are) as a super featherweight (130 lb. division) with a professional record of 4-0, 4 knockouts.
A graduate from the Chicago Bulls College Prep School (from the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago), Joshuah is a junior at DePaul University studying Physical Education and Exercise Science by day and a professional boxer by night.
I catch up with father and son over the phone.
Miguel Hernandez on retirement
“I’m outside all day, man — the weather, whatever — I’ve got to be out there,” he says, laughing about the frigid temperatures. “I’m just working and being a father, man, training my kids. It’s been kind of hectic because you know, Josh’s schedule and my younger sons’ schedules are kind of crazy. My younger son (Justin) does a lot of wresting, so I have to divide my time, but it’s good, man!”
Joshuah Hernandez on why he chose to pursue the hardscrabble sport of boxing when he was an “A” student in high school
“I want to be a world champion. That’s my dream,” Joshua says, after greeting me.
“I know anything can happen with sports. I studied that in school and I’m there to win this. You know how athletes tear their ACL or get a detached retina — for little reasons that can end their whole career.
“I’m not one to put all their marbles in one basket and be a daredevil. Right now, I’m young, my body is in great condition, and I’m able to balance school work and train hard, so why not do it now as opposed to later, when I’m older?
“I mean, I’m already a junior. I have year and a half left of college and once I’m done with school, I’ll dedicate my life to boxing full-time. I’m already doing it full time — you know what I’m saying, (but) I have to go to school before I go to the gym.”
On Joshuah’s Penchant for Knockouts at 4-0 with 4 KO’s and his style
“Knockouts are cool. They get you the attention that the fans wanted, but I go in there looking to box, throw my jab, stay busy, but I never go in there looking for a knockout,” Josh maintains.
“And I believe I showed that in my last fight, too, where I had the guy hurt in the first round,” he says. “Well, I chose to be patient, because how many times have you seen a fighter go after a hurt guy and then get hurt, himself?”
On his upcoming opponent on January 21st at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago:
“Luis Rivera is three and three and he’s never been knocked out. He actually fought (WBA and IBO World Super Bantamweight champion) Rau’shee Warren on ShowTime and, so, it’s a good test for me because he’s been in there were some good guys,” Josh asserts. “The last two fights, he won. It’s my first fight I signed with Warriors Boxing. They want to see me in with a guy who can push me for six rounds, you know?”
On His Father Training and Guiding Him:
“I’m comfortable with him. Boxing’s a dirty business and he looks out for me ‘cause he’s been through some things. But he’s also very smart,” he notes, the admiration clear in his voice. “There’s not that many fighters that turned pro at 30 years of age and took it as far as he took it — you could argue with minimal training because towards the end, he was training himself; nobody was his trainer.
“And I was there every step of the way, and now I’m a little bit older to truly understand what was going on. And I’m a good listener. I trust what he tells me to do. He’s my father; he wouldn’t want me to get hurt, so.”
“All my classes are in the morning, so once I get home from school, my father gets out of work at 3:00; we have the same gym, Sam Colonna’s Boxing Club — we’ll train there for about an hour and a half. Mondays and Wednesdays, we’ll spar at night. We spar with a lot of guys on Friday morning just because I don’t have school on Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ll do bag work — you know floor work, (hitting) a lot of pads. We do strength conditioning two times a week. And then, after we do that at Sam’s, we come home, I’ll eat, and I’ll head to X-Sport (where he works on conditioning; he works as a trainer at Unanimous Boxing Gym at 2764 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647 as a fitness trainer) at night. And when I’m at X-Sport, I’ll run, I’ll swim, do different exercises.
“It’s cool ‘cause that’s what I go to school for now. I’m kind of my own strength and conditioning coach because I know what kind of exercises affect what kind of muscles, how my body should recuperate, and (the perils of) losing too much weight at the last minute, so I’m not willing to put myself through any of those things.”
On His Timeline to a Championship:
“The main focus here is one fight at a time. That’s it. Anything can happen. I learned very, very early in my early professional career that there’s a lot of empty promises in this sport, and you have to take it day by day ‘cause life is very short, and you have to enjoy every step of every day,” he offers. “Who’s to say? I might not be world champion. Maybe when I retire, I can sit down and say a-ight, I trained hard for however many fights I had and I went out and gave 110 percent — and that’s all that matters.”
On How He Spends Down Time
“Man! That’s a great question. Well, As you know, I’m an older brother so, since the day I could remember, my job was to be a role model to my younger brothers,” he states. “So when my down time comes around, I spend a lot of time with my younger brothers, whether it be playing Play Station, Call of Duty, or I’m cracking jokes.
“Talking to my mom,” he says of his mother, Yolanda Hernandez.
“I spend time with my older cousin. He’s like my big brother. I call him Junior, but his real name is Charles Swift — he prefers to be called Junior,” he effuses. “He’s actually in my corner. He actually has a little son who is his first son born in Chicago, so New Year, I was in the hospital, because that’s actually my godson, Josiah. So, I spend a lot of time with family. You know, I’m a family guy; I’m not so different from my dad. My spare time I’m with my family, man. I trust them the most and have a lot of fun with them, so.”
On Life After Boxing
“I could teach physical education in schools, I could work for a sports team being a personal trainer for a sports team, (but) I kind of have my life mapped out,” he says, the smile clear in his voice. “After boxing, I’ll go back to school, get a higher degree so I can work with a sports team, work with athletes at the professional level, then turn around and open my own gym so that professional athletes can be training at my gym — and take it from there, make it my family business.”
Last Thoughts and Thanks
“I just want to thank Sam Colonna for always being there. He’s always been there from the beginning,” he says. “He’s like my uncle/grandpa — I call him that all the time and he just starts cracking up! He’s definitely family. I’m very close to that man.
“You know, my father, for always being there for me and always sacrificing his own time. He’s made me a better athlete and better fighter.
“My mom gets the biggest thank you out of anybody ‘cause she’s the foundation. Without her, a lot of things don’t happen the right way. She fixes my trunks. All the patches you see on my trunk, she does that herself — the flags, the lettering. She cooks my meals, she does all that. She’s the main one.
“And of course, my family and all my supporters that buy tickets and come out to support me. I am forever grateful for them. I could argue that if they didn’t buy the tickets, I wouldn’t be getting on the shows with the promoter, like they did at the beginning of my career, now that I’m signed to Warriors.
“Other than that, obviously, Warriors came along and gave me a great opportunity, and I plan to make the best out of it. So, we’ll see what happens!”
Thank you. I hope you’re doing well — you and your family. Have a happy New Year.
Hint of a Sequel
Miguel Hernandez gets back on the phone and says, “Hey Juan. That was good, man. Thank you so much!”
This is like another dream come true, you know?” he continues. “He works hard, man!”
“My middle son, Jeovani, he’s very, very good in boxing, right? Joshuah says he’s even better than Josh,” he claims. “I mean, boxing’s not ever forced on anyone in my household. They’ve got to want it to be successful in it, so. Once he decides what he wants to do and he does it, you’ll be writing about him soon!”
"Thank you so much, brother," Miguel says. "Happy New Year to you and your family!"
And you, as well, Miguel.
BY JUAN C. AYLLON
PALM DESERT, CA — He came close three years earlier at a Billy Graham Crusade, but it wasn’t until a fateful ride in a Hearse that he began his journey of faith -- which ultimately led to his outreach program for grief stricken teenagers.
“I wanted to go forward,” Tom Morris recounts of his Crusade experience, “but my parents told me I didn’t have to because I was Presbyterian.” He laughs.
Not one for flair or pretense, he is affable, plainspoken and constantly in motion. Although he has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he simply prefers to be addressed as Tom. As a high school student in his youth group and, later, as a volunteer, I often witnessed him work 15 hour days. Given to Attention Deficit Disorder, he prefers the euphemism, Multi Attention Attribute.
Bearded and sporting shoulder-length hair at 23, he lifted weights, swam, ran -- and did pushups and situps in a sauna to burn off energy. Now clean shaven with a bald dome, at 6' 1" and 225 lbs., the fit and muscular Morris, 63, trains daily, mixing weights and cardio and using a fitness app, My Fitness Pal, to track what he eats.
Thomas Morris was born the son of an electronics engineer and a school teacher in Winston Salem, North Carolina on March 4, 1953. Together with his two sisters, they moved to Denver, Colorado, where they had horses. He participated in the Boy Scouts, raised bees, spent a lot of time at a creek in Colorado near his house catching snakes and frogs, enjoyed horseback riding, shooting guns “and things like that.” Then, his family moved to upstate New York when he was 15.
Morris graduated from Whitesboro Senior High in 1971 in Whitesboro, New York and spent his first two years at Houghton College majoring in Philosophy and the Bible, and then transferred to State University of New York at Buffalo, where he majored in speech communication, studied C.S. Lewis for two years and earned his Bachelor’s degree.
He moved to Illinois -- “and that’s when you met me in 1975,” he says over the phone. “I was a student at Trinity Seminary. You were a freshman in highschool when I met you.” He was a student assistant pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois where I attended for several years as a high school student.
My brothers and I didn’t know anyone when my mother dropped us off at First Pres for a large group Thanksgiving dinner the night we met. Sensing our lostness, Morris sat and talked with us, ultimately giving us a ride home. He became a mentor -- a fatherly figure -- of sorts to me in my highschool and college years.
He moved out to California in 1980. “And you went out there in 1982 and went to Cal Poly Pomona,” he adds (I reported to him as a volunteer at Youth For Christ/Youth Guidance as a student and, later, as a professional from 1982-1987).
“I worked with probation kids and high school students. I did that for 35 years,” he says. “ At the same time, I was ordained as a pastor in 1989 with the Evangelical Free Church.”
In 1992, Morris moved to Seoul, Korea and worked at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan (a military base for US armed forces there). Then, in 1996, he returned with his family to work with high school kids in the Palm Springs, California area.
He has five grandchildren; his son, Will, is married with children, as is his daughter, Katherine, while the other, Caroline, remains single and is in graduate school.
Three years ago, Morris unofficially adopted a son, Elijah Lorono, who never knew his father and whose mother died. He was going through a tough time and Morris told him that he’d be there for him. Having met when Elijah was in high school, they became closer after Elijah’s mother passed.
A bodybuilder and franchise operator, Elijah is looking to get his pro card to compete for contests such as Mr. Olympia, and is planning a trip to Florida with his wife — and Tom Morris in tow.
On his ride in a Hearse and conversion experience
“At a football game in 1968 about a little before we moved to New York, I rode up with a guy in a Hearse for a halftime skit,” Morris recalls. “And he shared the Gospel with me, and that night I accepted the Lord. And then we moved to Upstate New York.”
Why the Hearse?
“It was the halftime show and we were the Bear Creek Bears and we were going to bury the (opposition) and, on the way back, he asked me, ‘Are you a Christian?’,” Morris says. “I realized I’d heard pretty much the same message at the Billy Graham Crusade (but) this time, I had an opportunity to respond.”
On starting Grieving Teens
In 1997, a health teacher friend was scheduled to teach on death and dying, but his alcoholic parents had recently passed and he was unable to present the subject.
“So, I came in and talked about it -- and that’s how I got involved with helping people with grief issues,” Morris says. “And then I went back to school at Trinity and got a doctorate in 2004. I was working with youth as I was studying.”
On What Grieving Teens is About
“Basically it is a different kind of ministry model. I talk with kids in public high schools with grief issues. The school cares about it because during their grief, their minds are preoccupied with things that have happened in their life, whether it’s dads in prison, or the divorce that their family has gone through, or a death or several deaths — or several other things,” Morris summarizes. “It’s complicated. But they’re not focused on school. The school cares about helping them work through it so they can focus again on their school work.
“One of the aspects that grief affects is the mind. It affects things like attention span, being preoccupied — and it not only affects the grades, but sports, as well,” he continues. “I’ve had people that played baseball or football and they weren’t performing like they were before because their minds were not focused on what they were doing.”
As the executive director of Grieving Teens, Morris conducts once a week grief group meetings at various schools in the Coachella Valley area, including Palm Desert High School, La Quinta High School and Desert Springs High School. He provides a safe space for them to discuss their issues. (Yanez)
"Grief is grief and they just need to talk about it," he maintains. (Ibid)
“It’s been 19 years,” Morris says, adding that he has some youth pastors that serve as volunteers, but that Grieving Teens is basically Tom Morris.
The lows and highs with Grieving Teens
“The low point is trying to get some schools to see that there was a need for it. Back in the day, they didn’t see too much of a need issue,” Morris says, adding that it often took a major crisis for schools to see the need. “One school, there was a drowning. And that made them realize that they’re overwhelmed and don’t know how to handle this. And they call me.”
“A high point? Seeing kids work through their issues and change. Sometimes it’s a matter of forgiving people who’ve hurt them,” he continues. “Sometimes it’s a matter of just making it through a bunch of difficult decisions, whether it’s being suicidal or broken — and becoming whole people. Those are the high points that are most meaningful.”
On his unofficially adopted son, Elijah
“I met him at the gym (when he was in high school). He was a football player and a track star,” Morris notes. “He was very quiet; I didn’t really get to know him until he came back after several years of college and we spent some time talking.”
On upcoming plans
Reflecting on his work with Grieving Teens, Tom Morris once wrote, “It has brought richness and meaning in my life to witness young people, broken in grief, hurting, and expressing bitterness, recover and grow to be stronger people with the help of God’s grace.” (Morris)
Nowadays, Morris’ focus is on helping his youngest daughter complete grad school and “continue what I’m doing,” he says. “I don’t have any grandiose plans, but just continue doing what I’m doing.”
Tom Morris has written a handful of books on the topic of grief recovery and his ministry, Grieving Teens, is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations for financial support. For more information, you can go to the following links:
Morris, Thomas. “Helping Teens Deal with Death and Grief.” Culture and Youth Studies. 2016. Web. 29 November 2016.
Yanez, Laura. “Grieving Teens of the Desert.” Kesq.com. Gulf-California Broadcast Company. 3 March 2014. Web. 29 November 2016.
Samsung Electronics to Acquire HARMAN, Accelerating Growth in Automotive and Connected TechnologiesKorea on November 14, 2016
(PRESS RELEASE) Samsung Electronics and Harman International Industries, Incorporated today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire HARMAN for $112.00 per share in cash, or total equity value of approximately $8.0 billion. Upon closing, the transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung, and is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2025¹ . HARMAN is the market leader in connected car solutions, with more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security. Approximately 65% of HARMAN’s $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related, and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion.
HARMAN’s experience designing and integrating sophisticated in-vehicle technologies, as well as its long-term relationships with most of the world’s largest automakers, will create significant growth opportunities for the combined business by enabling it to leverage Samsung’s expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays and its global distribution channels. In addition, the combination of HARMAN’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics will deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.
“HARMAN perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics. “As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, HARMAN immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform. Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team and HARMAN’s talented employees. HARMAN’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”
“The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade,” added Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics. “We see substantial long-term growth opportunities in the auto technology market as demand for Samsung’s specialized electronic components and solutions continues to grow. Working together, we are confident that HARMAN can become a new kind of Tier 1 provider to the OEMs by delivering end-to-end solutions across the connected ecosystem.”
Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO, stated, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders. Samsung is an ideal partner for HARMAN and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world. Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with HARMAN’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers. Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace. This transaction will bring HARMAN and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space. More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of HARMAN’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets. We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”
Customer Benefits and Significant Growth Opportunities
Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and HARMAN’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.
• Automotive: Combining HARMAN’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance HARMAN’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.
• Audio: HARMAN’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL®, Harman Kardon®, Mark Levinson®, AKG®, Lexicon®, Infinity®, and Revel®. The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins® and Bang & Olufsen® brands for automotive. All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.
• Professional: The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and STAPLES Center – home of the GRAMMY Awards®.
• Connected Services: Samsung will gain access to HARMAN’s 8,000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market. This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices.
Operating Structure and Leadership
Upon closing, HARMAN will operate as a standalone Samsung subsidiary, and continue to be led by Dinesh Paliwal and HARMAN’s current management team. Samsung is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and plans to retain HARMAN’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands. Samsung believes the combination will increase career development and advancement opportunities for the employees of both companies.
Samsung’s Automotive Electronics Business Team, which was established in December of 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, will work closely with the HARMAN management team to realize the full growth potential of the combination.
Terms of the Transaction
The purchase price represents a premium of 28% based on HARMAN’s closing stock price on November 11, 2016 and a 37% premium to HARMAN’s 30-calendar day volume weighted average price ending November 11, 2016. Samsung expects to use cash on hand to fund the transaction. The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
The transaction, which is subject to approval by HARMAN shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2017.
Evercore is serving as financial advisor to Samsung and Paul Hastings LLP is acting as legal counsel. J.P. Morgan and Lazard are serving as financial advisors to HARMAN and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is acting as legal counsel.
On November 14, Samsung and HARMAN will host a webcast presentation to discuss the transaction at 8:00 am EST/10:00 pm KST. Links to the webcast and accompanying documents will be available on Samsung’s Investor Relations website www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/ir/newsMain.do and HARMAN’s Investor Relations website http://investor.harman.com/.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the proposed transaction, HARMAN will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and mail or otherwise provide to its stockholders a proxy statement regarding the proposed transaction. BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, HARMAN’S STOCKHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION OR INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE THEREIN BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION AND THE PARTIES TO THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION. HARMAN investors and security holders may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement and other documents that HARMAN files with the SEC (when available) from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the “Investors” section of www.harman.com. In addition, the proxy statement and other documents filed by HARMAN with the SEC (when available) may be obtained from HARMAN free of charge by writing to HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, Attention: Corporate Secretary, 400 Atlantic Street, Suite 1500, Stamford, Connecticut 06901, or by calling (203) 328-3500.
Participants in the Solicitation
HARMAN and its directors, executive officers and employees may be deemed, under SEC rules, to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from HARMAN’s stockholders with respect to the proposed transaction. Security holders may obtain information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of such individuals in HARMAN’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, filed with the SEC on August 11, 2016, and its definitive proxy statement for the 2016 annual meeting of stockholders, filed with the SEC on October 25, 2016. Additional information regarding the interests of such individuals in the proposed transaction will be included in the proxy statement relating to the transaction when it is filed with the SEC. These documents may be obtained free of charge from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the “Investors” section of www.harman.com.
Statements about the expected timing, completion and effects of the proposed transaction and all other statements in this communication, other than historical facts, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and any such forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the following cautionary statements. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and are based on current expectations and involve a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. HARMAN may be subject to certain risks during the pendency of the transaction, and may not be able to complete the proposed transaction on the terms described herein or other acceptable terms or at all because of a number of factors, including without limitation (1) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement, (2) the failure to obtain the requisite approval of HARMAN’s stockholders or the failure to satisfy the other closing conditions, (3) risks related to disruption of management’s attention from HARMAN’s ongoing business operations due to the pending transaction and (4) the effect of the announcement of the pending transaction on the ability of HARMAN to retain and hire key personnel, maintain relationships with its customers and suppliers, and maintain its operating results and business generally.
Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. In addition, the forward-looking statements represent HARMAN’s and Samsung’s views as of the date on which such statements were made. HARMAN and Samsung anticipate that subsequent events and developments may cause their respective views to change. However, although Harman and Samsung may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, each specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the views of HARMAN or Samsung as of any date subsequent to the date hereof. Additional factors that may affect the business or financial results of HARMAN are described in the risk factors included in HARMAN filings with the SEC, including HARMAN’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference.
This communication also makes reference to HARMAN’s awarded business or “backlog”, which represents the estimated future lifetime net sales for all of HARMAN’s automotive customers. HARMAN’s awarded business does not represent firm customer orders. HARMAN reports its awarded business primarily based on written award letters. To validate these awards, HARMAN uses various assumptions including global vehicle production forecasts, customer take rates for HARMAN’s products, revisions to product life cycle estimates and the impact of annual price reductions and exchange rates, among other factors. The term “take rate” represents the number of units sold by HARMAN divided by an estimate of the total number of vehicles of a specific vehicle line produced during the same timeframe. The assumptions HARMAN uses to validate these awards are updated and reported externally on an annual basis.
1Addressable market in 2025 – Samsung analysis
Juan C. Ayllon
A writer, artist, educator who lives with his wife, Isabel, and their goldendoodle, Liam, he enjoys mixing music on a soundboard at church and listening to high fidelity music at their home in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.