EXCLUSIVE: The worst-kept pro-audio industry secret in recent times finally became official yesterday, as Italian manufacturer PROEL spa confirmed it had acquired the assets of UK-based Turbosound Ltd. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, looks set to transform the profiles of both companies in key market sectors, writes Dave Robinson.
The acquisition - which has been rumoured for sometime but was only sealed on Friday 9th February - will add depth to PROEL's position in the pro-audio marketplace, allowing it to benefit from the international reputation of the 25-year-old designer and manufacturer of high-end sound reinforcement products.
The basic structure of the companies will remain unaltered, each continuing to operate independently on a day-to-day basis, PROEL in Sant' Omero and Turbosound in Partridge Green, West Sussex. PROEL manufactures lighting, staging gear and percussion alongside its audio portfolio, and runs successful distribution arms in several territories. By joining the Italian group, Turbosound will benefit from additional financial backing, enabling it to increase its research and development activities, accelerate time-to-market and introduce more new products.
"We see this as a tremendous opportunity," says Turbosound's managing director, Philip Hart (left of picture). "Being part of a larger group will allow us to build rapidly on what we have already achieved. PROEL is exceptionally well placed in sectors of the market where Turbosound hasn't previously focused [the more budget-conscious MI zone] and we can learn from that. In turn, Turbosound's profile in the higher end of the sound reinforcement market and its enviable reputation among touring companies and contractors will help to pull the PROEL companies into new and profitable sectors."
Fabrizio Sorbi, founder of PROEL, responds: "Over the last 15 years, PROEL has focused all its efforts on anticipating the future needs of its customers. Through this acquisition [of Turbosound], we will be able to meet all the needs of the sound reinforcement sector as well as our more traditional markets." Sorbi adds that Turbosound's staff have "amazing qualities".
This is not the first time Hart has been instrumental in major financial moves at Turbosound: in 1998, while with Harman, he oversaw the sale of the company to a management buy-out team, before coming back on board several years later to lead the independent operation.