Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


PAI agrees deal to purchase majority stake in Audiotonix

Deal is worth close to £2bn, according to Financial Times, and will leave PAI Partners as majority shareholder, with Ardian retaining a minority stake

PAI Partners a private equity firm, and Ardian, an investment house, have agreed a deal for Audiotonix, which is worth close to £2bn according to the Financial Times newspaper. Upon completion, PAI will acquire a majority stake and become the largest shareholder in Audiotonix, with Ardian retaining a minority stake alongside management. Based in south-west London, Audiotonix was created through the merger of three businesses, DiGiCo, Allen & Heath and Calrec.

Founded in 2014, Audiotonix products have been used on global tours by artists such as Coldplay and U2, at major sporting events including the Super Bowl and FIFA World Cup, and in venues like the Las Vegas Sphere. DiGiCo equipment was used in a concert to celebrate the late Queen’s platinum jubilee in 2022, as well as by pop stars including Natalie Imbruglia and Ed Sheeran.

DiGiCo consoles used for an Ed Sheeran show

Audiotonix has a portfolio of brands, including Allen & Heath, DiGiCo, Calrec, Solid State Logic, Sound Devices, Slate Digital, and sonible, which cater to high-specification professional end-users and sound engineers globally. Audiotonix distributes its products through an international network of more than 400 distributors and partners in more than 90 countries worldwide, with a sizeable footprint in North America.

French private equity group Astorg bought the business in a deal worth £350m in 2017 before selling it on to Ardian for almost €1bn two years later. Despite pandemic restrictions, under Ardian’s ownership, the group has continued to expand. During this time, the group has secured five strategic acquisitions, developed new products, increased its focus on software and reinforced its management team.

James Gordon, CEO, Audiotonix, said: “I would like to thank Ardian for the confidence and solid support of Audiotonix, the management team and our staff. The team invested alongside us just as the Covid lockdown began, and from our first meeting were aligned with us, making sure Audiotonix emerged in a stronger position than before.”

He added: “As management, the most critical challenge with a process like this is selecting the right partner moving forward, who understands what the business is today and can get behind the vision of what it can become. With PAI, it is clear this is a team and partner we can take Audiotonix to the next level with, while preserving the passion and energy that have made the group the success it has become in our industry.”

Olivier Personnaz, head of buyout UK & managing director, Ardian, said: “There has been a revolution in the way people enjoy and appreciate all forms of entertainment. When we first invested, we believed the team at Audiotonix were best placed to become a global leader in audio technology. We backed management to invest and build out an R&D team larger than any competitor and one that has consistently delivered technically and commercially outstanding products.”

He continued: “We have also supported the business in expanding into software via M&A. Today, Audiotonix is undoubtedly the leading player in a market where we see long-term tailwinds. We want to thank the management team, led by James Gordon, for their exceptional performance, resilience and quick thinking. Audiotonix still has tremendous potential to grow in an evolving global market with the support of PAI.”

European private equity group PAI Partners last year raised about €7bn for its latest flagship buyout fund. The group invests in companies in Europe and North America. Some of its investments include a stake in Froneri, one of the world’s largest ice cream companies. Ardian and PAI declined to comment.