News

LDC exits Martin Audio to Focusrite plc in £39.2m sale
19 Dec 2019

LDC has agreed to sell its significant stake in the high-performance loudspeaker business Martin Audio to Focusrite plc, the global music and audio products company, in a £39.2million sale. The transaction follows a period of significant growth for Martin Audio and provides a money multiple return of 2.6x for LDC.

Martin Audio was founded in 1971 by legendary Australian sound engineer Dave Martin who started out producing touring systems for international super groups including Pink Floyd, The Who and Supertramp. It designs, manufactures and distributes premium professional sound systems across the globe, providing the audio equipment for one in five festivals worldwide. Customers include London’s British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park, Rock in Rio and iconic London super-club Ministry of Sound. Today the company employs 74 people internationally, with the majority based at its head office and manufacturing facilities in High Wycombe.

In the 12 months to October 2019 (unaudited), the business recorded turnover of £24.4million, up 12 per cent on the previous year, with an EBITDA of £3.4million, increasing by 31 per cent year-on-year.

LDC backed the business in 2018 in a management buyout from US-based global audio specialist Loud Audio, investing £12million in the company alongside its existing management team led by Managing Director Dom Harter. Since the start of the partnership Martin Audio has grown quickly as a standalone business, adding new clients such as US-based Soundworks, Southard Audio and Twilight Audio as well as new partners including Jamaican brand Main Event Entertainment and Dominican Republic-headquartered Group AR.

Martin Audio has also diversified its offering through the launch of 15 new products since LDC’s investment, opening up new sales channels for the business and enabling it to expand into the commercial installation space.

Following the sale to Focusrite plc, Martin Audio will continue to operate autonomously as a subsidiary of Focusrite, maintaining its existing leadership team as it looks to continue to drive international growth opportunities and extend its client portfolio.

LDC has been a really supportive partner. They have encouraged us to focus on our priorities and have trusted us to get on with things. Our partnership has given us the perfect platform to invest in key growth areas of the business, broaden our customer base and fundamentally improve the way we operate.”
Dom Harter, Managing Director
Martin Audio

“Joining Focusrite means we can continue this journey and play centre stage at even more music festivals and public commercial venues across the world to cement our name as a leading high-performance loudspeaker brand.”

Yann Souillard, Head of LDC in London, said:“This is a fantastic result for both Martin Audio and LDC that demonstrates the success of our partnership. We wish Dom and the team the best of luck on the next stage of their journey, and we have no doubt they will continue to drive the business forward.”

Philip Weston, Investment Director at LDC, said:“Martin Audio’s track record of success is as extensive as Pink Floyds’ back-catalogue. We’ve worked closely to help the business build its brand and extend its reach into international markets. This deal is a real credit to the continued hard work the management team have put in to grow the business as quickly as they have over the past 18 months.”

LDC was advised by KPMG.

Focusrite plc was advised by Lincoln International.