09 Jul 2018

Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised the management team of Martin Audio, the designer and manufacturer of premium high-performance loudspeaker systems, on its management buyout (MBO) from global audio specialist Loud Audio and investment by Lloyds Development Capital (LDC).    

LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, 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. 

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 business now has a turnover of around £20m and employs more than 60 people.

The WBD team was led by Corporate Partner, Tom Fitzpatrick. He commented:

"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 Turbosound. We are delighted that management now has the ability to pursue a growth strategy with LDC." 

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.”

WBD has a large corporate practice in the UK advising national and international clients on a broad range of corporate transactions, particularly M&As, private equity investments, growth and development capital, and public company fundraisings. 

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 and earlier in June the firm advised the Royal Institute of British Architects on an investment by LDC.