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.
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 the world for live music and entertainment, and the increasing number of venues worldwide that require high-performance systems.
Martin Audio, founded in the 1970s by legendary sound engineer Dave Martin, now has a turnover of around £20m and employs more than 60 people. The British company is enjoying strong growth on the back of new product releases and continuing success in the touring market with London’s British Summer Time Festivalat Hyde Park and Rock in Rio, currently deploying record amounts of its flagship system, MLA.
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 investment 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 the non-executive director.