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Jabra owner goes after gaming with SteelSeries acquisition

Jabra owner goes after gaming with SteelSeries acquisition

 October 7, 2021 at 4:45 pm   |     Author:   |     Technology  

SteelSeries arctis prime on headset stand near monitor
Enlarge / SteelSeries’ Arctis headsets are well-known among gamers.

Gaming peripherals-maker SteelSeries is being purchased by GN, the owner of audio equipment company Jabra. The deal announced Wednesday gives GN access to SteelSeries’ headsets, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals for PC and console gaming, as well as its sub-brands, like Nahimic.

Denmark-based GN is buying SteelSeries from Axcel, a Nordic private equity firm, in a deal that reportedly amounts to 8 billion DKK (about $1.2 billion).

Founded in 2001 in Denmark, SteelSeries has made a name for itself with a large selection of advanced peripherals targeting console and PC gamers. As an audio company, GN is undoubtedly interested in SteelSeries’ Arctis headset lineup, which comprises a wide range of prices and form factors and has become a go-to brand among gamers. SteelSeries also has a reputation with other types of peripherals, including its Apex Pro mechanical keyboard (you’ll regularly see gamers sharing social media posts of the keyboard as they peel the sticker off its unique OLED screen).

SteelSeries' OLED-clad Apex Pro gaming keyboard.
Enlarge / SteelSeries’ OLED-clad Apex Pro gaming keyboard.

Calling SteelSeries a “new growth engine,” GN was wooed by SteelSeries’ “growth profile and margin structure,” according to the announcement. GN is seeking to cash in on demand for gaming hardware you can control with software and expects the gaming gear market to “continue to grow in the mid-term at around 7–8 percent per year.” Further, GN believes SteelSeries will show “strong growth in revenue and EBITA” this year.

Both companies promised that SteelSeries will continue to have its own brand and identity. SteelSeries CEO Ehtisham Rabbani said in a statement that the brand will continue to focus on eSports and gaming with new hardware and software. The exec also said the brand will “be run by the same leadership team and organization that’s driving it now.” The acquisition affects 350 SteelSeries employees, including 80 software engineers, GN pointed out in its announcement.

GN’s current roster includes Jabra, known for high-end headsets and earbuds; ReSound, a hearing aid brand; and wireless headset-maker BlueParrot. The company has 6,500 employees.

“We have for some time searched for the right way for GN to enter the very interesting gaming market, being keenly interested in the ‘high-end’ segment,” René Svendsen-Tune, CEO of GN Audio, said in a statement.

With GN’s audio roots, it’s unclear if SteelSeries will have a heightened focus on headsets post acquisition, but it’s hard to imagine the brand’s investments in areas like mice, keyboards, and controllers suddenly going away. The purchase will also net GN Nahimic, a company that focuses on PC gaming audio software, and KontrolFreek, which sells console controller accessories.

The SteelSeries acquisition is expected to close “by the beginning of 2022” but is subject to regulatory approvals.

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