The latest stunning announcement in the custom electronics industry this spring perhaps tops them all: publicly-held Planar Systems has acquired the assets of legendary, privately-held display manufacturer Runco International for $36.8 million in cash. Planar expects its purchase of Runco will accelerate it “into a leading position in the high-end, custom home theater display marketplace.”
The Runco and Vidikron brands join the Planar brand to comprise Planar’s Home Theater business unit. That unit will continue to be led by Planar Vice President and General Manager Scott Hix, who previously served as a leader at InFocus when that company rather brassily entered the home theater space and became somewhat of a thorn in Runco’s side. Hix reports directly to Planar President and CEO Gerry Perkel.
Runco President Bob Hana will report to Hix as Planar’s vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for the Runco and Vidikron brands. As such, Hana will continue to lead the Runco and Vidikron businesses. Jim Davis, another InFocus veteran, will continue as the worldwide head of sales for Planar-branded specialty home theater displays, also reporting directly to Hix.
Runco Founder and CEO Sam Runco will “provide ongoing consultation and continue to be a key contributor to Planar’s ongoing Home Theater business initiatives,” said Planar in a release.
The merger pairs a well-funded, upstart newcomer to the custom home electronics channel with one of the most venerable companies in the CEDIA world, a company founded and fronted by perhaps the custom industry’s most recognizable and flamboyant character, Sam Runco.
Planar entered the home theater market just last year with its Xscreen technology and a line of front projectors. Although its Home Theater unit is a startup of sorts, Planar, established in 1983, has a long and illustrious history as a manufacturer of display hardware and software for industrial vertical markets like hospitals, shopping centers, banks, government agencies and transportation companies.