Razer, the $1.5 billion company synonymous with hardcore gaming, just bought iconic audio company THX, which was founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas.
Razer’s cofounder and CEO Min-Liang Tan revealed the acquisition of the majority of THX assets in an interview with Business Insider. He would not disclose the financial details of the transactions — not even a ball park figure.
Tan said that Razer will retain all of THX’s staff and management and keep the group “completely separate” — in other words, operating how it does now but just with a different owner.
“We ourselves created, pretty much, a cult brand with Razer and we know how people follow cult brands and what they expect,” Tan told BI. “It is not just creating [a cult brand], it is also living up to the standards of what they expect. It’s the same with THX, so we want to keep it completely standalone.”
Razer is a unique gamer lifestyle brand that does everything from hardware to software for hardcore computer gamers. Based in California, it was launched in 2005 and last valued at $1.5 billion (£1.23 billion). Razer has around 1,000 employees worldwide and is privately owned.
Razer creates some of the fastest, high-spec, and most streamlined laptops in the world and is synonymous with dedicated video gamers. Its high-quality gaming devices, sleek designs, and high prices have earned it the nickname the “Apple of the gaming industry.”
THX, meanwhile, was founded in 1983 by filmmaker George Lucas and has changed hands several times. The company develops high-end audio and visual set ups and environmental designs. Its THX certification means a product meets the highest audio and visual specification standards in the industry.
Tan told us that Razer worked “directly with THX and the private equity partners” to get the deal done after admiring the group from afar for decades.
“I’ve been looking at THX for a really long time — since I was a kid. The whole Star Wars legacy it has made it probably one of the biggest brands in the world, across movies, music, and theatres. I first worked with them 8 years ago when we were looking at setups for speakers and we constantly kept in touch.”
He added that not only will Razer inherit the brand, it also acquires “a huge amount of intellectual property.” Tan also confirmed that THX is “not involved in ongoing litigation or patent disputes,” when BI asked.
In addition, THX will be able to “seek agreements with other product makers, service providers and financial partners apart from Razer” when it comes to the audio technology business.
Tan said that the acquisition is all part of the plan for Razer to become an even more well-rounded entertainment business.
“This deal will be a huge fusion for us in the entertainment space. We are not just a gaming company, we are holistically an entertainment company. This is the evolution of entertainment and the convergence of areas of gaming, music, music videos, filming. It’s 360. Games are being made into movies, movies are being made into games,” said Tan.
“It also positions us to double down on focusing on premium and consumer audio visual products and in VR (virtual reality.) We are spending a lot of time and resources in VR and there is a huge amount of potential in this area. We are encouraging THX to look at it too.”