Martin Audio managing director, Dom Harter, has hailed the firm’s recent MBO (management buyout) by LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, as “good news for customers” in an interview with PSNEurope.
The deal saw LDC invest £12 million for a significant stake in the company as Martin Audio looks 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.
Here, Harter tells PSNEurope what the deal means for the company and its place in the pro audio market.
Talk us through the new agreement with LDC. How did it come about?
We have been talking with LDC for over a year, however the hard work really started at the turn of this year when it became clear that Transom would entertain the sale of Martin Audio from the LOUD Audio group. LDC were keen on supporting a MBO and the management team felt they were the right investment partner to make this happen and to help take this brand forward.
What does LDC’s involvement with Martin Audio mean for the company?
It has enabled the MBO, which means all our decisions revolve around the best for Martin Audio and not part of a wider group dynamic. It will mean the opportunity for greater investment to support the brand. For example we have planned significant increases in R&D over the next three years, as well as development of our infrastructure to better serve our customers.
Where will the £12 million investment be predominantly spent?
That money has largely supported the initial purchase of the company but also allows for good working capital, as well to help run and invest in the business. The overall plan for Martin Audio has not fundamentally changed – make best in class products for the right price position. Having the appropriate amount of working capital will really help us market these products properly and provide the training and education to help ensure they are deployed in the best possible way.
What are the mutual benefits in this deal?
LDC are ultimately investing in the future success of Martin Audio. Naturally, the management team are working to that end as well. As a consequence, this means Martin Audio will strengthen and grow, which is good news for our staff, good news for our customers, and ultimately means the company grows in value, which will make good on the investment for LDC.
Where are the biggest areas of opportunity for Martin Audio following this kind of investment?
The investment and support will provide a step change for the business, injecting capital for further development of new product, both hardware and software, as well as ensuring we have a rock solid infrastructure to extend our global reach and drive market share of our portfolio.
Are there any plans for further expansion on the horizon?
Right now our sole focus is to make Martin Audio the best version of itself it can be.
The past year or so has been a busy time for the brand. What’s next for Martin Audio?
Well, we have a very strong new product roadmap across the next five years which we are very excited about which is a mix of refreshing product, new application based product and some missing gaps in our portfolio that need addressing. We can’t say any more, but it should be a very exciting time for both new and existing customers.