Wednesday, 1 November 2000
Two of the USA's largest sound reinforcement companies are to join forces, following the news that Vari-Lite International has entered into a letter of intent to sell Showco - its sound reinforcement business - to an affiliate of Clair Brothers Audio, Inc. 'The combination of Showco and Clair Brothers will create the most impressive sound reinforcement company in the world,' said Rusty Brutsché, chairman and CEO of Vari-Lite. 'The decision to sell Showco to Clair Brothers was based upon the long-term benefits to Showco's customers and employees as Vari-Lite concentrates its efforts on the development, manufacture and sale of its automated lighting systems and continued operation of our lighting rental and production services offices in North America, Asia and London.'Showco, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, was formed in Dallas, Texas by Rusty Brutsché and Jack Maxson and from the early days of providing touring rigs for such bands as Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night and James Taylor has evolved into one of the world’s premiere audio production companies with a product portfolio that includes the Prism sound system, digital controller, stage reference monitors, Prism L3 compact loudspeaker system and the Showconsole which was launched last year.Based in Lititz, PA, Clair Brothers has expanded enormously over the last 10 years and has manufacturing and affiliate offices in the US, Switzerland, Australia, England, Mexico, Singapore and Japan. Formed in the late 1960s by Roy and Gene Clair, the company has a client list that includes Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and U2, while its own product portfolio includes the S4 and S-4II sound systems, CTS system processor, monitoring and custom development sectors.The deal has been greeted with surprise in the US, where the two companies have battled it out for high-profile tours in the last few years, complete with competitive product inventories. As a result, both companies are considered to control approximately two-thirds of the total US touring market. The sale is subject to various conditions and scheduled to be completed by Dec. 15, 2000.