Sound investment for D&M with second UK acquisition


Allen & Heath Holdings, a leading UK designer and manufacturer of audio mixing equipment, has been acquired by global audio-visual equipment provider D&M Holdings. The deal sees the first exit for Close Growth Capital, (CGC), the leading provider of single source finance to the lower mid market, from its current fund.

Allen & Heath, which is based in Penryn, Cornwall, makes consoles for professional sound engineers, live sound installations and DJs. This latest acquisition by D&M complements that of Calrec Audio, a manufacturer of audio production equipment for broadcasters, which it acquired in September 2007. Clearwater Corporate Finance advised both Allen & Heath and Calrec on the sale of their businesses.

Allen & Heath has a dedicated team of employees, many of whom have been with it for 15 years or more, who take responsibility for providing customers with high quality products. The management team of Glenn Rogers (MD), Dave Jones (FD), Tony Williams (Operations) and Bob Goleniowski (Sales) has turned a niche company from Cornwall into a global success story with a solid reputation for excellence and innovation in digital live sound and is the console of choice of the world’s top DJs.

From building consoles for bands such as Pink Floyd and The Who in the 70s its systems are now used by a broad range of live music venues and leading club DJs around the world. Allen & Heath also provides installed sound systems for conference centres, lecture theatres and hotels. The business now employs 155 people, has a turnover of £18m and sells to a large group of global distributors.

The Clearwater team was led by partner Mike Reeves with Nick Horrocks. Mike Reeves said: “The acquisition will allow Allen & Heath to accelerate its growth as part of a large corporate. The company can benefit from greater economies of scale, complementary products and increased distribution outlets.

“It will also allow D&M Holdings to expand its product offering and gain a firm foothold in the market for installed live sound with the acquisition of a highly respected brand.”

This is the first realisation from CGC’s fund II and represents a return of 40 per cent achieved within two years of initial investment. James Blake of CGC, who was on the board of Allen & Heath said: “Allen & Heath is a truly innovative business with a first rate management team. Since our investment in March 2006 the business has grown profit by 40 per cent and seen sales increase by 12 per cent. Our investment has provided the environment for management to take the business to a new level and enabled them to benefit directly from their efforts.”

D&M Holdings, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, owns brands including Denon and Denon DJ, Boston Acoustics, Snell Acoustics and Replay TV.