A couple of pieces of industry news that may have gotten lost amidst the poop-show that passes for common culture and attention spans these days. Buyouts happen all the time and we should all expect so see more of them for a couple of reasons. 1) Many of the founders of enterprises ranging from smaller manufacturers to large production companies are getting to that age when a Exit Plan gets more attractive. 2) Some of the investors that kept some of these companies afloat when the economy was a dumpster fire are itching to see a return on their investment now that it appears to be in at least third gear. (Hey, I only own one stock but it’s up 50% in the past year…)
The cool thing here is that, after years of seeing stories in which beloved brands were bought out by holding companies and hedge funds (or by groups leveraged to the hilt to some investment banking firm), the latest two pieces of news appear to point to the good guys winning a round.
First, Fender ditched the investment company part of their ownership and is now 100% owned by a company that has been in the musical instruments biz since 1937 and started their relationship with Fender as a dealer in the 1950s. And they were part of the small group of investors who backed the play to buy the House the Leo Built back from CBS in the mid-1980s.
On the audio side, Martin Audio, after going through multiple owners and management buybacks over more than a decade before bringing ditched by Loud has been acquired by Focusrite. Martin was very much the first mover in the whole space of super-aimed audio for live events with the MLA and seeing them hookup with one of the leaders in Audio Over IP is pretty intriguing. (Focusrite also owns REDNET). Check this out for the basics of the news as well as some speculation as to what it could mean on a mixing of tech level.