d&b specializes in acoustic systems and has operations worldwide. The participation in d&b is already the 13th investment by AXA LBO Fund V, which is capitalized at €2.8 billion. As part of the transaction, the existing management team, led by CEO Amnon Harman, Markus Strohmeier (Managing Director, Technology and Operations), Frank Bothe (Director R&D), Kay Lange (Director Finance), Hans-Peter Nüdling (Director Sales & Services) and Sabina Berloffa (Director Marketing) will also take a stake in the company, thus ensuring continuity for the further successful development of d&b. With the support of Ardian, the company plans to further strengthen its leading global position. The parties have agreed not to reveal details of the transaction, and the conclusion of the transaction is still subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.
d&b, which was founded in 1981 and is based in Backnang, Germany, is one of the world’s leading providers of professional premium audio technology. The company develops and produces high-quality sound systems for mobile and permanently installed applications. The spectrum of venues ranges from large stadiums and concert halls to theaters, opera houses, convention centers and cruise liners. With its systemic approach based on the interaction of amplifiers, speakers, accessories and interlinked software solutions, combined with dependable worldwide service and an exceptional training and support offering, d&b is uniquely positioned in the marketplace.
Since the company’s acquisition by Odewald & Compagnie and COBEPA in 2011, sales have more than doubled from €44 million to €94 million in the financial year 2015. The number of employees has also risen sharply from 200 in 2011 to around 350 today. Working alongside management, emphasis was placed on the internationalization of the company, the management team was strategically expanded, and the sales team was strengthened considerably. One of the main growth drivers at product level was the strategic development of the market for permanently installed audio systems, which was vigorously pursued in recent years, building on d&b’s outstanding market position in the area of mobile systems. As part of the internationalization process, new subsidiaries were founded in Europe, the USA and Japan, and the company’s production capacity was more than doubled. In particular, d&b achieved strong growth in the USA and Asia. Today, d&b operates in a total of more than 70 countries.
Amnon Harman, CEO of d&b, said: “Everything at d&b is about creating the best sound possible. We are therefore in an excellent position to benefit from the increasing expectations of professional audio technology at events, concerts and large shows worldwide. Together with our new shareholder Ardian, we particularly want to further develop in the Asia-Pacific, South American and North American markets and further expand our leading position in our European home market. On the product side, we will continue to expand the business with permanently installed systems and the development of new, innovative audio solutions. We would like to thank our former shareholders Odewald & Compagnie and COBEPA for their support over the past years – they set the strategic course for our success today and specifically invested in helping us reach our growth potential.”
Fabian Wagener, Director at Ardian, added: “Over the past three decades, d&b has become a premium brand in the professional audio technology sector and has shown outstanding organic growth. We are convinced of the company’s innovative strength, its results-oriented management team, its dedicated employees and the resulting growth perspectives. Together with management, we will refine the existing product portfolio and provide important impulses for the further international growth of the company.”
Torsten Krumm, Co-Head of Odewald & Compagnie, added: “d&b’s outstanding entrepreneurial performance in recent years, especially in terms of its internationalization and product development, has made the company the global number one for professional audio systems. We are delighted with the positive development of the company and are proud to have made a contribution to the success of d&b today. With Ardian, d&b gains an entrepreneurial new partner to further realize its global growth potential.”
ABOUT D&B AUDIOTECHNIK
Founded in 1981 by Jürgen Daubert and Rolf Belz and based in Backnang, Germany, d&b is one of the world’s leading producers of high-quality speakers, amplifiers and related components. Since its founding, d&b has evolved from a garage start-up to one of the three leading providers of professional audio systems worldwide. d&b systems are used as reliable tools for long-term use at production and distribution companies from the event and multimedia genre, at festivals and concerts, at musicals, concert halls, theaters and opera houses, in radio and television products – from the tiniest conference rooms to the largest stadiums. Over the last three decades, d&b has acquired the status of a global premium brand in professional audio technology environment.
Ardian, founded in 1996 and led by Dominique Senequier, is an independent private investment company with assets of US$55bn managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia. The company, which is majority-owned by its employees, keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and delivers investment performance to its global investors while fuelling growth in economies across the world. Ardian’s investment process embodies three values: excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship.
Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 410 employees working through twelve offices in Paris, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Zurich, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Singapore, Jersey and Luxembourg. The company offers its 470 investors a diversified choice of funds covering the full range of asset classes through Ardian Direct Funds (comprising Ardian Mid Cap Buyout, Ardian Expansion, Ardian Growth and Ardian Co-Investment), Ardian Infrastructure, Ardian Funds of Funds (comprising primary, early secondary and secondary activities), Ardian Private Debt, Ardian Real Estate and customized mandate investment solutions with Ardian Mandates.
ODEWALD is a leading German independent and partner-managed private equity group focusing on established, high-growth medium-sized companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Since its founding in 1997, ODEWALD has invested equity in excess of €1 billion in Germany via its four funds. As an entrepreneurial investor, ODEWALD typically acquires majority stakes and subsequently invests in the growth of its portfolio companies.
COPEBA is an independent, pan-European evergreen investment company with a net worth of €1.8 billion. The company’s shareholder base consists only of European families, which provides COPEBA with the stability to invest over the medium- to long-term in companies to support them in their development. With a history dating back to 1957, COPEBA has a long track record of successful investments in a wide range of industries, geographies and investment products. Its focus on long-term value creation via growth-driven investment strategies forms the fundament of its investment philosophy.
- Ardian Team: Wolfgang Pietzsch, Fabian Wagener, Stefan Kappis
- Financial: PwC
- Commercial: goetzpartners Management Consultants
- Legal: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
- Tax: taxess
- Insurance: Willis Towers Watson
- Environmental: Golder Associates
- M&A: Altium
- Debt Advisory: Herter & Co.
Odewald & Compagnie
- Financial: E&Y
- Commercial: AT Kearney, Munich
- Legal: Hogan Lovells
- Tax: E&Y
- M&A: Macquarie, Frankfurt
Odewald & Compagnie
Tel: +49 69 79409024 - Mobil: +49 173 5204436