Business as usual for Calrec after acquisition by Electra Partners

Calrec was sold by D&M Holdings, which had acquired the console company in 2007, for a mixture of equity and debt worth £14 million ($23.1 million), writes Dan Daley. Kevin Emmott, marketing manager for Calrec Audio, told SVG that no operational changes are planned for the company. “We are still one hundred-percent focused on supplying our customers,” he said.

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 maker is the city’s single largest employer. Calrec’s consoles hold the largest market share in sport-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.”

In addition to this move, other pro audio companies are expanding through M&A activity to broaden their reach and create synergies in an industry sector with tightening margins. These include 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 maker Gibson’s recent acquisitions of Onkyo, TEAC, TASCAM, KRK, Stanton, Cakewalk and Cerwin Vega to create an entirely new pro-audio division.

“Part of our investment strategy in the professional audio sector is to acquire additional businesses to create a group of market-leading professional audio brands,” said Charles Elkington, investment partner of Electra Partners.

Emmott pointed 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 they will continue to do so in the future now that both are owned by Electra, though each company would continue to focus on their respective core markets.

In an unrelated move, Emmott told SVG exclusively that it 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 of last year, is a cost-effective console intended to help Calrec open new markets in price-sensitive areas, such as mainland China and India.

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