Calrec Acquired By Private-Equity Firm Electra Partners

UK-based private-equity fund manager Electra Partners has acquired Calrec from D&M Holdings, which had acquired the broadcast-audio-console manufacturer in 2007, for a mixture of equity and debt worth £14 million ($23.1 million).

Kevin Emmott, marketing manager for Calrec Audio, tells SVG that no operational changes are planned for the company. “We are still 100% focused on supplying our customers,” he says. Calrec will also continue its plans to move into a new purpose-built manufacturing and headquarters complex in Hebden Bridge, in West Yorkshire, UK, where the 50-year-old console manufacturer is the city’s single largest employer. Calrec’s consoles hold the largest market share in sports-oriented remote-broadcast trucks in the U.S.

The acquisition of Calrec by Electra Partners reflects ongoing consolidation within the pro-audio industry. Electra last year had purchased Allen & Heath, a UK console manufacturer whose consoles are used extensively in the live-sound, touring, and fixed-installation sectors. Electra investment partner Charles Elkington told the London Daily Express at the time, “Part of our investment strategy when investing in A&H was to acquire additional businesses in the sector in order to create a group of market-leading professional-audio-mixing brands.”

Other pro-audio companies also are expanding through M&A activity to broaden their reach and create synergies in an industry sector with tightening margins. This activity includes Behringer’s purchase of Midas Klark-Teknik in 2009, the acquisition by Harman Pro Audio Group of Martin Audio in early 2013, and musical-instrument manufacturer Gibson’s recent acquisitions of Onkyo, TEAC, TASCAM, KRK, Stanton, Cakewalk, and Cerwin Vega to create an entirely new pro-audio division.

Emmott points out that Allen & Heath, which had been a sister company to Calrec when both were owned by D&M Holdings, had shared some R&D activities in the past and will do so in the future now that both are owned by Electra, although each company will continue to focus on its respective core markets.

In an unrelated move, Emmott tells SVG exclusively that Calrec will change the name of its recently introduced Callisto console to Summa. The name change is a result of a trademark conflict with another, unnamed pro-audio brand. The Callisto, which was introduced at the IBC Show in September, is a cost-effective console intended to help Calrec open new markets in price-sensitive areas, such as mainland China and India.