This article originally appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of WiFi HiFi Magazine.
Focal Naim, a subsidiary of Vervent Audio Group, has acquired both Audio Plus Services and Plurison. Audio Plus Services will now be known as Focal Naim America, while Plurison has become Focal Naim Canada. Both companies will be headed up by Daniel Jacques, who will continue in his position as President.
In 2017, Plurison began managing Focal's subsidiary, Focal North America, which included CI products, headphones, and multimedia, strengthening the company's 25-year relationship with Vervent, which owns both the Focal and Naim brands. "All of the things I was doing for Focal North America," says Jacques, who was serving as president for that company as well, "are now included in Focal Naim Canada and Focal Naim America."
How Will The Companies Operate?
Both companies will operate under the same roof, and share the same staff, including back office personnel, sales staff, sales reps, and technical support. These include former Plurison, Audio Plus Services, and/or Focal North America employees like Romain Vet, who will serve as Vice President of Marketing for the new company, Simon Cote, Vice President of Sales, and Territory Managers Matt Reilly, Randy Bingham, and John Bogle.
"This recent evolution of our long and successful relationship provides us with a rock-solid foundation to support our mutual long-term growth and strategy," says Jacques. "Our philosophy," he continues, "has always been to make our dealers' lives as easy as humanly possible."
This will be achieved, in part, by the fact that Focal North America accounts and products will be folded into the new companies, thus giving dealers one point of contact, one purchase order, and one account statement for all Focal products. Previously, notes Jacques, dealers who purchased several types of Focal products would have different reps for CI and headphones, for example, then they did for home or pro audio products, and had to maintain separate vendor accounts. "Now," he tells WiFi HiFi, "they'll have one vendor, and one rep that represents all of the products."
Despite now being known as Focal Naim, the company mission will continue to be to serve as an importer and distributor of other brands. Thus, Focal will offer many of the brands that were previously offered by Plurison and Audio Plus Services. These include, in addition to the complete line of Focal products in the Pro, Home, CI, Headphones, and Multimedia categories, products from Musical Fidelity, Naim and Naim Music, Cambridge Audio, Rega, BDI, IsoAcoustics, Siltech, Earsonics, SPL, Lauten, Zaor, Vicoustic, and Solid Tech brands.
Distribution Daniel Jacques Inc. Sets Up Shop
Focal Naim Canada and Focal Naim America will not continue to represent Cymatic, Pop Audio, Humanscale, Cocktail Audio, Crystal Cable, XLO, Micromega, Wharfedale, Music Hall, ClearAudio, Astell&Kern, and Stax - brands that were formerly part of the Plurison/Audio Plus Services roster. However, these brands will continue to be available through Distribution Daniel Jacques Inc., a new company Jacques has set up to ensure continuity for dealers.
"Some dealers have commitments to those brands and products," says Jacques. "And I wanted to make sure these brands, and the dealers, would be looked after. That's why I created this other company."
Distribution Daniel Jacques will operate separately from Focal. Jacques has rented office space across the street, and will hire a separate back office team, along with sales reps for the brands under that umbrella.
Jacques uses the analogy of a best-selling fiction author who features the same central character or characters throughout different series to describe his situation. "I'm holding one book," he says, "but I'm starting to write a new one. The characters in the books, however, are all the same."
He's happy with the decision to sell the companies, noting that the most important job for any company owner is to plan long-term.
"There's a sense of fragility with a distributor," he says. "We depend on the brands, but we don't own them. Now, my assets are liquid for the sake of my children, the employees are more stable, and Focal has a platform on which they can invest, and a strong foothold in North America. Plus, I get to keep doing what I love to do. In a situation like that where everyone wins, it's a recipe for long-term viability and success." - Christine Persaud
Daniel Jacques is President of Focal Naim Canada, formerly Plurison, and Focal Naim America, formerly Audio Plus Services; and has started up his own distribution company, Distribution Daniel Jacques Inc., to handle the remaining lines that are not under the new Focal ownership. (Photo by John Thomson)