×

New Sonos CEO Raises Possibility of IPO for Retail Expansion

Sonos wants to give consumers more chances to experience its internet-connected speakers in person, said the company’s new CEO Patrick Spence in an interview with Variety on Thursday. This could include opening additional Sonos stores, with Spence acknowledging that a further retail expansion may require raising additional money. “I’m open to all the options on the table,” Spence said when asked whether Sonos may go public, or tap into additional funds from institutional investors.

Sonos opened a first U.S. retail store in New York in July, and Spence revealed that the company has opened multiple shops in China over the past couple of months as well. In addition, Sonos has struck retail partnerships with West Elm and Apple. Spence said that the Apple partnership in particular greatly benefited the company, but argued that shelf space alone isn’t enough to demonstrate how Sonos speakers sound and work. “You are going to see us testing more formats,” Spence said about the company’s retail plans.

Sonos has raised some $325 million in funding from institutional investors; the company is profitable, according to Spence, who said that any new fundraiser or public offering may also be used to reward its almost 1,500 employees.

Spence took over as the CEO of Sonos earlier this month after the company’s founding CEO, John MacFarlane, decided to step back and resign from the company’s board. Sonos made headlines early last year when MacFarlane acknowledged that the company had ignored the rise of voice-controlled speakers like Amazon’s Echo, which led to layoffs and a change in direction.

In August, Sonos announced that it would add Amazon Echo support to its existing speakers, an experience that the company is now testing with a subset of its users, who can now control their Sonos systems with the help of an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. Spence said this week that the partnership between the two companies would eventually go further. Asked whether there will one day be a Sonos speaker that has microphones and Amazon’s Alexa assistant built-in, he said: “Yes, there will be.”

However, Spence said that Sonos doesn’t just want to work with Amazon on voice control: “I’m very confident that we can deliver multiple voice systems to our customers.” Eventually, voice services may be like music services today, he argued, with Sonos offering support for multiple assistants, just like it offers support for a multitude of competing music services. One company that Sonos would like to work with is Google, said Spence. “I’d love to be supporting not only Echo and Dot, but also Google Home.”

This may take some convincing. Amazon and Google have in the past fought bitter fights over emerging platforms, with Amazon stopping to sell products like Google’s Chromecast in October of 2015, and Google executives telling consumer electronics partners last year that they couldn’t run Google’s assistant and competing services like Amazon’s Alexa on the same device.

Spence didn’t comment on specific demands from possible partners, but argued that exclusive deals for voice control don’t make sense in an environment where people may use different phones and platforms. “I don’t think that’s gonna work in the home,” he said.

More Digital

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix in Advanced Talks to Join Motion Picture Association of America

    WASHINGTON — Netflix is in advanced talks to join the Motion Picture Association of America, a move that would reflect its evolution as a major player in the movie business. The MPAA currently has six major studios as members, each paying annual dues between $15 million to $20 million per year. But it faces the [...]

  • The Expanse

    Amazon Launching 'The Expanse' Seasons 1-3 Worldwide Ahead of Season 4 Premiere

    Amazon has acquired worldwide subscription-streaming rights to the first three seasons of “The Expanse,” the space thriller that originally aired on Syfy, leading up to Prime Video’s debut of season 4 later in 2019. Seasons 1-2 of “The Expanse” are currently available in the U.S. on Prime Video. All three seasons, comprising 36 episodes in [...]

  • Beta Sells Alex Pina’s Movistar +

    Beta Film Rolls Out Alex Pina, Esther Martinez Lobato’s ‘The Pier’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI  — Clinching more deals on one of Mipcom’s highest-profile premieres, Beta Film has closed early major territory sales on Movistar + Original “El Embarcadero” (“The Pier”), Alex Pina and Esther Martínez-Lobato’s follow-up to Netflix phenomenon “La casa de papel” (“Money Heist”), identified by the streaming giant in its first-quarter results last April as its [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    How to Watch Oscar Nominations Live Online

    The 91st Academy Awards may be hostless, but its nominations will be led by Kumail Nanjiani of “The Big Short” and Tracee Ellis Ross from ABC’s “Black-ish.” The two actors will announce the nominees live beginning at 5:20 a.m. PT/8:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan 22. All 24 Oscar categories will be announced in a [...]

  • Google Fined $57 Million in France

    Google Fined $57 Million in France for Breach of Data Protection Rules

    Google has been fined €50 million ($57 million) in France by data regulator CNIL for breaching the European Union’s data protection rules. The CNIL said in a statement that Google had not sufficiently informed its users about the exploitation of their personnal data. “We’re not denying that Google informs users who open an account…but the [...]

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content