New Professional Audio Group Combines DiGiCo, Allen & Heath, and Calrec

August 1 2014, 07:37
Is this more consolidation in the professional audio industry or simply a strategic move to strengthen market ascendency in a time of technology transition to digital audio networks? 
In a surprise announcement, British manufacturer DiGiCo confirmed the creation of “A United ’Console’ Kingdom,” bringing together DiGiCo, Allen & Heath and Calrec to create a new ProAudio Group.

Both Allen & Heath and Calrec have recently exited from D&M Holdings (a Japanese corporation, formed in 2002 from the merger of Denon and Marantz) and were acquired by investment firm Electra Partners. At the time of the Calrec acquisition, Electra Partners stated that “part of our investment strategy in the professional audio sector is to acquire additional businesses to create a group of market-leading professional audio brands.”
The creation of the new ProAudio Group was supported by direct investments from Electra Partners and ISIS, two of London’s top Private Equity houses.

In the current announcement, DiGiCo states: “The DiGiCo team has spent the last 18 months consulting with Electra Partners about the possible combination of both Allen & Heath and Calrec with the DiGiCo family. The culmination of this brings together three British console companies to create a new professional audio group, while retaining their unique skills, customer relationships, and the identities of each brand. James Gordon will become Group CEO supported by a strong and talented management from across the new group.”
 
“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,” says James Gordon.
 
“These are three great companies and all the brands currently in the group have enviable reputations for technology, audio quality, reliability, and perhaps, most importantly, customer focus and care. The strategy is 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.”
 
Glenn Rogers, Managing Director of Allen & Heath, added, “The creation of the group with DiGiCo and its 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, commented that “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. Customers can expect us to maintain and in some areas improve our very high levels of support and service.”
 
The complexity of this combination required the effort and support of two of London’s top Private Equity houses. For the first time, Electra Partners and ISIS have pooled resources to support the management with this ambitious vision for the future of UK pro audio. Charles Elkington, Investment Partner at Electra Partners, said: “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.”

www.digico.org | www.calrec.com | www.allen-heath.com
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