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Planar Reaffirms Satisfaction With Runco Acquisition

Planar has no regrets about last year’s acquisition of Runco International for $37 million, says Scott Hix, VP and GM of the company’s home theater business unit.


UPDATE: Scott Hix is out at Planar, after reporting a second-quarter loss that the company attributes to its acquisition of Runco.

Planar has no regrets about last year's acquisition of Runco International for $37 million, says Scott Hix, VP and GM of the company's home theater business unit.

“It's been the right thing to do,” he explains. “Our strategy three years ago was to acquire a company like Runco, as opposed to growing it organically. It's been almost a perfect fit in terms of an acquisition.”

Hix says the most challenging aspect of the transition has been “trying to transform Runco by leveraging our back office, manufacturing, global support and service.”

Runco has moved its offices in Union City, Calif. to Planar's headquarters of Beaverton, Ore., which makes sense for the company.

“It's like changing a tire on a moving car,” Hix says. “That's our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity to deliver of the promise of the acquisition to Runco customers.”

Same Company, More Muscle

Hix says Runco will stay in tact as the company moves forward with its long-term plans, which include improving the brand's heritage with the additional resources from Planar.

“I'm not worried about our ability to keep the attributes that made Runco loved by the industry,” Hix emphasizes. “Sam [Runco] is still here, the people I bought in all have a history in this eco system, but now we have more capabilities than we did before.”

Hix says that industry members don't want Planar to change the way they “feel” about Runco. “We aren't that much bigger [than Runco]; we are just adding the muscle,” he says.

Throughout the transition, Planar will make installers aware of future initiatives the company may employ, Hix says: “Our No. 1 priority from the time we finished the acquisition was to over-communicate. First, we let them know what we were doing and how we were going to do it. Then, why it would benefit their business.

At the annual Runco getaway in Mexico, the company pushed its focus on outdoor and weatherproof TVs.

“We've worked hard at communicating with our dealers so there wouldn't be any shock or paranoia. I've been pleased that we've been close with our dealers and rep firms to know that we are communicating with our dealers.”

Hix says the performance of Runco and Planar dealers will determine whether or not the acquisition is a success. “Pretty much everything starts and stops with them, and we are not going to do anything without asking them first,” he explains. “We're not going to do anything that's not in their best interest.”

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; both schools are located in Haverhill, Mass.