DiGiCo, Calrec and Allen & Heath have formed a new professional audio group, with DiGiCo’s James Gordon serving as group CEO, it has been announced.
The alliance follows a substantial investment in DiGiCo by Electra Partners, the private equity firm that acquired both Calrec in March 2014 and Allen & Heath in June 2013.
Electra’s gaining of a majority shareholding in DiGiCo's digital console business marks the partial exit of former investor ISIS Equity Partners, who will retain a small part of its original stake. ISIS says it has returned double the original investment to its clients in the move.
DiGiCo and Electra Partners have spent 18 months working on the deal, it has been revealed. London-based Electra now boasts a portfolio which can seek to grow its marketshare of digital mixer sales in broadcast, installation, DJ and live/touring sound sectors. There has been no ‘group name’ announced for the alliance at the time of writing.
James Gordon said in a statement: “We have bold plans for the group, but it is imperative that each company maintains its own independence and style. None of these brands needs to trade off each other's technology or reputation.”
Gordon confirmed that there would be a strategy "to share technology and resource across the group and allow some interconnectivity across the product lines".
“The combined R&D teams are about to enter a new world of possibilities and we intend to take full advantage of their resource, passion and experience. It’s an amazing opportunity for us, and just maybe the whole British pro audio industry," he said.
An original D5 Live console, the desk which launched the DiGiCo brand back in 2002, is shown above.
Glenn Rogers, managing director of Allen & Heath, added, “The creation of the group with DiGiCo and their management is an impressive combination. It will certainly add new momentum to what Allen & Heath and Calrec had already planned for the future.”
Henry Goodman, Calrec’s sales and marketing director, comments: “This exciting formation gives Calrec new opportunities for swifter development of a host of ideas we have been wanting to bring to the market. We will have a vast pool of engineers to share new ideas for the industry and target them specifically to each brand’s needs.”
Charles Elkington, investment partner at Electra Partners, says: “DiGiCo augments our existing investment in the professional audio sector. We have worked hard over the last 18 months to bring together these three successful businesses. We look forward to working with James Gordon and his team to grow the group, while also preserving the distinctive brand identity and excellent customer relationships of each business.”
The new set-up also sees the total departure of Mobeus Equity Partners from the financial framework. Mobeus invested £4.6m to support the original management buyout of DiGiCo in 2007 and achieved a partial realisation in December 2011 through a £50m secondary buyout to ISIS Equity Partners. Mobeus has returned over 5.5x multiples to its clients over the period, in excess of £25m in cash.