EQUIPMENT CO. WHEATSTONE BUYS PR&E ASSETS.

Longtime broadcasting equipment manufacturer Wheatstone Corp. has bought the tech assets and intellectual property of fellow manufacturer Pacific Research & Engineering (PR&E). The latter had been owned by Quincy IL-based GatesAir—which was previously known as the industry-leading broadcast manufacturer Harris Broadcast—since 1999.

The purchase includes PR&E’s line of audio consoles, its networking system and furniture lines, along with its designs, trademarks, engineering files and tooling, which Wheatstone says “effectively restores the PR&E console brand under the Wheatstone umbrella,” according to a report in Radio World, which first reported the news Friday.

Pacific Research & Engineering, once called Pacific Recorders, was founded in Southern California in 1969 by Jack Williams, and was renowned for its consoles and high-end turnkey studio installations and cart machines. Wheatstone tells Inside Radio that its revenues totaled more than $80 million in products and services around the world.

“We have a respect for the PR&E brand that goes way back. They were considered the Mercedes-Benz of consoles at one time, and today, the name PR&E still stands for quality,” said Wheatstone CEO Gary Snow in a release. “Our intention is to not only restore the PR&E brand, but to grow it and give existing as well as new customers the mobility to easily transition to IP networking.”

Wheatstone’s previous industry purchases include Auditronics in March 1999 and Audion Labs in October 2015. Its current line includes the Audioarts Engineering and VoxPro brand names, and Wheatstone IP audio networking, control surfaces, talent stations, audio processing for AM, FM and streaming and software applications.

When Harris bought the financially strained PR&E in 1999, it moved Harris into the audio console and networked audio management manufacturing business and gave it a West Coast base of operations, RW reports. The Gores Group then acquired Harris in 2013 and split it into siblings GatesAir and Imagine Communications.

PR&E has been operated in recent years out of GatesAir facilities in Quincy IL, and Mason OH. Wheatstone will move these assets to its headquarters in New Bern NC.


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