Mid-market private equity investor LDC has backed the management buyout (MBO) of Martin Audio, the designer and manufacturer of premium high-performance loudspeaker systems, from global audio specialist Loud Audio.
As part of the deal, LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has invested £12m for a significant stake in the company, alongside its current management team led by Managing Director Dom Harter.
Headquartered in Buckinghamshire, Martin Audio specialises in the design and manufacture of high performance loudspeaker systems for commercial installations, tours and events across the globe, including the London’s British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park, Rock in Rio and iconic London super-club Ministry of Sound.
The investment will enable the business 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.
The global market for high-performance loudspeakers is estimated to be worth £1.1bn per annum, driven by demand around for live music and entertainment, and the increasing number of venues worldwide that require high-performance systems.
The business, which was founded in the 1970s by legendary Australian sound engineer Dave Martin, has produced touring systems for international supergroups such as Pink Floyd, The Who and Supertramp. It now has a turnover of around £20m and employs more than 60 people.
Dom Harter, Managing Director of Martin Audio, said:
“Our success to date has been underpinned by providing equipment of the utmost quality to help deliver an unforgettable listening experience to people across the globe. Being a trusted brand and operating in a growing market means the time is right for us to fast-track the growth of the business.
“The next phase of our journey needs a growth-focused partner like LDC and the team has demonstrated a shared vision for the business from the outset. Our focus is now on developing our product line even further, and ensuring we have a rock-solid infrastructure in place to extend our global reach and drive market share.”
Troy Harris-Speid, investment director at LDC in London, added:
“Martin Audio has been on a fascinating growth journey since Dom joined. The business has a world class brand, history of innovative products and a management team with the ambition to build on a solid foundation to accelerate its expansion.
“Our investment and support will provide a step change for the business, injecting capital into key growth areas and bringing on board additional expertise to help guide its strategy.”
As part of the deal, LDC investment directors Troy Harris-Speid and Philip Weston will join the board, alongside James Browning who will join as non-executive director.
LDC was advised by Stuart Williams at James Cowper Kreston, Shaun Browne and Mark Dufilho at Houlihan Lokey.
Martin Audio management were advised by Martyn Pilley and Matt Jones from Cattaneo Corporate Finance with legal advice from Tom Fitzpatrick of Womble Bond Dickinson.