Polk Audio teams up with Nudell


Polk Audio Inc., a Baltimore-based manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers, has teamed with a Colorado audio component designer to make speakers for "home theater" entertainment systems.

Polk said yesterday that it will create a new company, Eoson, to make loudspeaker systems that will be sold exclusively by Best Buy Co. Inc., a fast-growing consumer electronics retailer. The announcement sent Polk's stock up 12 percent for the day, to close at $11.75.

The Eoson speakers will be designed by Arnie Nudell, whose Genesis Technologies audio systems are aimed at audiophiles. "The Eoson products will borrow some technology from our $70,000 Genesis I system, and I believe our Eoson designs will set new benchmarks," Mr. Nudell said.

Home theater systems, increasingly popular in pricey new homes, typically combine large-screen televisions, laser disc video players and booming speaker systems to create a cinema-like experience for the stay-at-home crowd.

Polk, which sold $41 million worth of loudspeakers in its latest fiscal year, will own the Eoson company and contract for Mr. Nudell's design services.

This spring, the company laid off 34 Baltimore workers and shifted most of its remaining local production to its Tijuana, Mexico, plant, leaving its administration, design, sales and distribution offices in Northwest Baltimore. The company did not say where its Eoson speakers would be made.

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