Sound advice from Womble Bond Dickinson Bristol team secures loudspeaker firm’s MBO

July 13, 2018
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The Bristol office of transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has continued its lead role in the professional audio equipment sector by advising on the management buyout of a high-performance loudspeaker system firm.

Buckinghamshire-based Marti Audio specialises in the design and manufacture of high-performance loudspeaker systems for music tours and events across the globe, including London’s British Summertime Festival in Hyde Park, Rock in Rio and iconic London super-club Ministry of Sound.

The WBD team advising the management on their buyout from global audio specialist Loud Audio and investment by LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, was led by Bristol-based corporate partner Tom Fitzpatrick, pictured.

He said: “We have worked with the management behind Martin Audio for several years and other deals in the pro-audio sector include the MBO of mixing console manufacturer Allen & Heath, funded by Electra Partners, as well as 3i’s exit from [loudspeaker firm] Turbosound. We are delighted that management now has the ability to pursue a growth strategy with LDC.”

LDC has invested £12m in the £20m turnover business, which employs more than 60 people, 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.

Dom Harter 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.”

LDC investment director Troy Harris-Speid 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.”

At the same time as the Martin Audio deal was completing, a separate WBD team was advising LDC on its investment in Yorkshire property agency Linley & Simpson. Earlier in June the firm advised the Royal Institute of British Architects on an investment by LDC.

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