"We had to retool and reinvent the company," Lavelle said.
So Voxx, then known as Audiovox, began acquiring companies, primarily those in the home theater industry.
That led to acquisitions from two Indianapolis-area companies, Thomson. Consumer Electronics and Technuity, in 2007. Thomson's accessories and audiovisual businesses, purchased in separate transactions for a total of $69 million, gave Voxx the RCA brand in everything except televisions. Technuity, for which Voxx paid $20 million, added Energizer rechargeable batteries.
"When it became apparent to us that Klipsch was for sale, we knew it would be a target company that would fit the criteria that we were looking for," Lavelle said.
Voxx agreed to pay nearly $50 a share for the 3.36 million shares held by the company's 22 owners.
The Klipsch management team has remained intact, except for the departure of CEO Fred Klipsch, 71, who owned 13 percent of the company before the sale.
Klipsch, who bought the company in 1989 from cousin and founder Paul Klipsch, stepped down three months after the deal closed. Jacobs, then the president and chief operating officer, succeeded him. Fred Klipsch is now a director for Voxx.
Klipsch, who could not be reached for comment, previously told IBJ he decided to sell to Voxx because he knew it would keep Indianapolis operations intact.
Lavelle said Voxx didn't want to get in the way of the company's talented managers.
"We give them a lot of room to operate based on what they believe their market needs are, their customer needs are, because they've done a good job in building that company," Lavelle said. "Part of the criteria was management came with that acquisition. We wanted to maintain that special sauce"
Klipsch has not been free of changes, however. The company closed three of its four offices in Europe, and shifted more than 40 of its European employees to the United States.
Overall Klipsch employment has increased from 220 to 260, with about 140 in the Indianapolis area.
The Indianapolis manufacturer began examining its brands - Klipsch, Energy, Mirage and Jamo - once acquisition discussions heated up.
"One of the things that really drove the acquisition was how we would change these brands to evolve in the global marketplace," Jacobs said.
The company nixed Mirage and integrated some of the technology into Energy and Jamo.
Jamo went through its own reconfiguration as Klipsch ditched the Danish brand's underperforming electronic equipment, chiefly DVD players.
Like Klipsch, Jamo now focuses on high-end loudspeakers. But they are tailored to the more subtle product demands of the European market.
Audio engineer Paul Klipsch founded the company in 1946 with a focus on high-end sound equipment. More recently, the company has tapped the growing mobile music market by selling high-end earphones.
Critics' rankings of Klipsch products are a mixed bag.
Consumer Reports found Klipsch and Energy home theater products to be "fair" or "good," on par with many of Voxx's other brands.
Klipsch stacked up better in the fast-growing earbud category. Consumer Reports rated all its earbuds as "very good," with one pair, the $350 Klipsch Image X10i, receiving the highest rating in its category.
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