Martin Audio Sold to Private Equity Investor LDC

Loud Audio has sold high-end pro loudspeaker brand, Martin Audio, in a management buyout backed by U.K.-based private equity investor LDC. Loud says this move is aimed at allowing the company to narrow its focus and deliver the best possible products and experience to its pro audio customers.

As part of the deal, LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has invested £12 million for a significant stake in the company, alongside its current management team led by Managing Director Dom Harter. LDC investment directors Troy Harris-Speid and Philip Weston will join the board, alongside James Browning who will join as non-executive director.

LDC says the investment will enable Martin Audio to further develop its product range, improve its sales and marketing capabilities through the extension of its global distribution network, and enhance its digital infrastructure through software development. Martin Audio is distributed in Canada by Erikson Pro.

Martin Audio, founded in the 1970s by legendary sound engineer Dave Martin, now has a turnover of around £20 million and employs more than 60 people. According to the company, Martin Audio is enjoying strong growth on the back of new product releases and continuing success in the touring market with London’s British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park and Rock in Rio (pictured above) currently deploying record amounts of its flagship system, MLA.

"I've truly enjoyed being able to participate in the legacy of this much-lauded brand," says Mark Graham, CEO of Loud. "Bringing some of the technical and operational expertise of the Loud enterprise to Martin Audio and drawing on Martin's fanatical passion around sound quality created a nice marriage of capabilities. While we are sad to see them go, we believe this change will benefit both businesses by allowing for simplicity and focus. We wish the brand and all the Martin employees the very best of luck."

Dom Harter, Managing Director of Martin Audio, stated, "Our success to date has been underpinned by providing equipment of the utmost quality to help deliver an unforgettable listening experience to people across the globe. The next phase of our journey will benefit from an investment partner like LDC. LDC has demonstrated a shared vision with a focus on developing our product line even further, and ensuring we have a rock-solid infrastructure in place to extend our global reach and drive market share."

James Oh, partner at Transom Capital Group, adds, "Reducing the complexity of the Loud business and re-focusing on high quality audio delivery from consumers to professionals has always been the focus of our thesis. We are very happy to have found a great owner for the Martin business and wish everyone involved much success in their pursuits."

Martin and Loud say they will be working together over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition for all customers, dealers, and distributors.

Sell-side advisors included Latham & Watkins as M&A counsel and Greenberg Traurig as debt counsel.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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