High Wycombe, UK (December 19, 2019)—Known for its recording gear brands, Focusrite plc. has taken a major step into the live sound arena with the acquisition of loudspeaker manufacturer Martin Audio, paying £39.2m ($51.2m) for the business. The move marks Focusrite’s second acquisition this year, following the purchase of German studio monitor manufacturer ADAM Audio for £16.2m ($21.1m) in July.
Focusrite acquires Martin Audio and Martin Audio North America as a result of the deal; the loudspeaker manufacturer brings with it roughly £4m in cash ($5.2m). Expected to get shareholder approval on December 30, the deal will be funded via a combination of existing cash resources and a £40 million ($52.2m) loan from HSBC and Natwest. Focusrite plc’s brands include Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Novation, Ampify and ADAM Audio.
The move brings to an end a near 18-month run of Martin Audio going it alone. In July, 2018, the company underwent a management-led buyout from then-corporate parent Loud Audio, which also sold off Ampeg and EAW that year. The Martin Audio buyout was backed at the time by UK-based private equity investor LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, which invested £12m ($15.7m) for “a significant stake” in the company; the new sale to Focusrite marks an exit for LDC.
Martin Audio will continue to operate from its offices and factory under the leadership of managing director Dominic Harter.
Both Focusrite and Martin Audio are based in High Wycombe and have a long incidental history as a result. Focusrite founder and chairman Phil Dudderidge noted, “I have known Martin Audio since its beginnings in Covent Garden in 1971. Founder Dave Martin and I became close friends in 1989 when I served as an advisor to him and non-executive chairman for a year or so as we prepared the company for sale to Tannoy Goodman International plc (TGI) in 1990.”
While the companies may be closely situated and share similar corporate cultures, all acquisitions ultimately have to do with the future; as Focusrite acquires Martin Audio, it will gain a strong foothold in the live sound market. In August, 2019, Martin Audio reported a 22 percent increase in sales in its financial year 2017-18, growing from £16.5 million to £20.1 million ($20.2 million to $24.6 million) and stated it expected a further 20 percent increase throughout 2019. In all, the company has launched more than 60 new products over the last four years and has seen double-digit growth each year.
Tim Carroll, Focusrite CEO, noted, “The acquisition of Martin Audio is a strong demonstration of our strategic aim to expand into new markets. Martin Audio is also an established brand with solid financials that instantly add value. More importantly though, they’re culturally aligned with a clear part to play in our unfolding narrative…. The Martin Audio family share our hunger to innovate and our passion as music and sound enthusiasts. That we’re just a stone’s throw away will only further help unite us in achieving our common goal.”
Focusrite • https://focusriteplc.com
Martin Audio • https://martin-audio.com