By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Plantronics has this morning announced a series of major changes to its business, including the sale of its Altec Lansing brand to a private equity firm.

Set to be finalised before the end of 2009, Plantronics is selling Altec Lansing for around $18 million cash, subject to adjustments, to Prophet Equity LP.

“Altec Lansing contributed to our success in the consumer market, where we are today a Bluetooth headset market leader and we will work hard to ensure a smooth transition for Altec Lansing’s partners and customers.  We are confident that Prophet Equity LP will continue to manage the business effectively,” said Plantronics president and CEO Ken Kannappan.

In Australia, the distribution of Altec Lansing will be shifted to custom installation specialists Amber Technologies. Chris Brown, who headed up Plantronics’ Altec Lansing division, will be moving on to maintain his stewardship of the brand at a new sales office.

Replacing Brown in his cross brand role national retail sales manager at Plantronics is Peter Petrides. According to Plantronics, Petrides has “a wealth of experience in retail sales”, having worked in both retail and channel sales for over 12 years.

Also announced this morning is the appointment of Cellnet as a new Plantronics distributor in Australia. Cellnet joins existing distributors Amber Technology, Anyware and Roadhound Electronics.

“Plantronics heritage and reputation for quality and reliability was a key factor in deciding to add their products to our portfolio.  We are excited by the opportunities the Plantronics Brand and their innovative products bring us” said Cellnet CEO Stuart Smith.

“We are delighted to announce Cellnet as our new distribution partner.  As a leading accessory and retail distributon partner, Cellnet was an obvious choice for us when we were assessing more efficient and effective options for providing market reach,” said Plantronics Australia MD Graeme Gherbaz.