Allen & Heath Returns To Corporate Ownership

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Allen & Heath managing director Glenn Rogers says it's business as usual at the company after its acquisition by D&M Holdings.MAHWAH, NJ-Seven years after buying itself out of corporate ownership, U.K.-based mixing console manufacturer Allen & Heath has become part of the D&M Holdings empire. The acquisition, the terms of which have not been disclosed, is D&M's second big pro-audio buy in short order, following the purchase of another U.K. company, Calrec, in August last year.

Since its foundation nearly 40 years ago, Allen & Heath has had several changes of ownership. It was part of the Harman Corporation for 10 years before the current management team, led by managing director Glenn Rogers, organized a buyout backed by a venture capital company in 2001. That was followed by a secondary buyout in 2006, since when the company has grown to an annual turnover of around $35 million.

"We were enjoying our independence and weren't actively looking for partners," said Rogers on the day that news of the deal was released to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, on which D&M is listed. "But every successful business receives approaches. We generally rebuffed them, but D&M had a very clear idea of what they were trying to do and why, and believed a deal would genuinely be in the interests of both parties. So we engaged in a conversation, entertained a good offer, and decided to accept."

Approached for an interview for this article, D&M Holdings had no comment. But there are obvious technological synergies between Allen & Heath's Xone range of DJ mixers, for example, and the Denon DJ range that sits within D&M's existing portfolio. Similarly, Rogers believes that Calrec's digital technology "will allow us to develop our iLive range further."

Perhaps most excitingly, D&M's broad range of high-value consumer AV brands, which include Marantz, Escient, McIntosh, and Boston Acoustics, holds out the tantalizing possibility of Allen & Heath's audio DSP technology finding a home-quite literally-in the residential systems market.
Operationally, it's a case of business as usual for Allen & Heath. There are no plans for any changes to be made at the company's R&D and manufacturing base, or to any of its worldwide distribution arrangements. As Rogers put it: "There's no pressure on us to make significant changes. The same management team is in place and we have the same targets to achieve."

Hot on the heels of the Allen & Heath acquisition came news that D&M itself may be about to change hands. RHJ International, which owns 49 percent of the company, reportedly raised a tender for D&M shares in March. Japanese media reports suggest that four interested parties will now be allowed to evaluate the assets of D&M more closely, before submitting a second tender this month.

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