Mackie Designs Inc. and Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) Inc. have signed a non-binding letter of intent by which Mackie will purchase all shares of EAW.

Based in Whitinsville, MA, EAW is a high-end professional loudspeaker design and manufacturing firm. The company's products are utilized in sound reinforcement systems at major stadiums and arenas, performing arts centers, churches, clubs, cinemas, and more recently, in the custom residential market. In fiscal year 1999, the company recorded sales in excess of $40 million.

"I can't stress enough that this move is a win-win for both sides. There will be a cross-pollination of our best technologies, and at the same time we both remain devoted to serving our primary markets," says EAW president Kenneth Berger. "EAW's market share continues to grow. It simply comes down to an even greater future for the company, an ideal opportunity to move forward and expand at an even greater pace.

"Mackie is a tremendous marketer and leader in the music retail marketplace, while EAW has established itself as the worldwide leader in professional installation and concert touring," Berger adds. "Putting these resources together creates an entity more powerful and effective than the sum of the individual companies."

The majority of each company's day-to-day operations will remain separate, including product distribution channels. EAW will remain based in Whitinsville, its current corporate headquarters and manufacturing site.

"The synergy created by bringing our two companies together is enormous," says Greg Mackie, chairman of Mackie. "At present, Mackie and EAW do not have any products which compete. In fact, Mackie and EAW specialize in completely different markets of the professional audio world. We believe that together we can help each other grow in new areas for both of our companies. The EAW brand enjoys a reputation for being the best in their markets, complementing Mackie's own reputation for quality products."

"The most critical factor in this partnership is the people we will have join the Mackie team," adds Jamie Engen, Mackie's chief operating officer. "We have tremendous respect for Ken Berger and EAW management, all of whom have built an extraordinary business with quality products. Ken and the management team have created a company that fosters an entrepreneurial culture that will mesh well with our own."