New York, NY (May 10, 2017)—U.S. sound reinforcement giant Clair Global has acquired Twickenham, U.K.-based Britannia Row Productions, it was announced today.
The two companies entered a strategic alliance earlier this year, and cemented the relationship with today’s announcement. “The synergies we’ve experienced with the entire Britannia Row team have been overwhelmingly positive,” said Troy Clair, president/CEO of Lititz, PA-based Clair Global. “Culturally and professionally, we are on the same page. We are excited to bring this new level of global support to our clients and better serve their passions to advance this industry.”
It’s not the first time Clair has purchased other another audio provider, as it acquired its primary competitor, Dallas-based Showco, in October, 2000 and the assets of Chicago-based dB Sound in May, 2007. In more recent times, Clair bought a controlling share of Australian sound provider JPJ Audio in early 2016—another company with a 40-plus year history in live sound.
“Both companies see this as the perfect way to expand and strengthen their worldwide client base, allowing them to offer consistent service in all major territories,” said Britannia Row directors Bryan Grant and Mike Lowe in a joint statement. Grant joined the company in October, 1979, while Lowe came on board a few years later in July, 1987.
While many sound reinforcement companies were started in the 1960s and '70s to serve the top acts of the Classic Rock era, Britannia Row has the unusual distinction of having been founded by one of those bands, as Lowe told Pro Sound News last year: “Pink Floyd actually started Britannia Row. Back in 1975, there were a number of bands of that era that had come out of the Sixties that were doing arenas and stadiums, especially in America, whereas seven or eight years before, they were using vocal columns, and one thing or another. At a point around the mid-70s, there were no rental companies. They owned their own equipment and had talented people around them who kept building lights, PAs, consoles and one thing or another.
“[Pink Floyd] were rather wealthy by that point and thought, 'We don’t have to tour all the time anymore,' so they started to find warehouses to put their stuff. The Floyd found a place on a road called Britannia Row in London put all their equipment in there. They told their guys, ‘We’re not working, try and pay your way and rent it out to other bands.’”
Advances in touring technology brought that plan to an end, Lowe recounted: “That didn’t work very long because people who run sound and lights were going to the band and saying ‘We need to buy new stuff.’ The Floyd themselves realized this, too, because they weren’t touring that regularly, so to keep up, they would have to rent. There was no point in buying it anymore because they’d go out for a year and then not go out for 4-5 years, so it turned out by the time we got to 1984, there was a management buyout.”
Since those days, Britannia Row estimates it has tackled 100,000 productions, ranging from global sporting events, concert tours, corporate and theatre shows to live radio and worldwide television broadcasts. It has been a decades-long audio provider for the likes of Depeche Mode, The Cure, David Gilmour, Peter Gabriel and Oasis, and provided audio gear for such notable events as the 2012 Opening and Closing Olympic Ceremonies in London; Led Zeppelin’s brief reunion in December, 2007; Live Earth; Live 8; and countless others.
Britannia Row Productions