01 March 2016

Ardian acquires d&b audiotechnik from Odewald and Cobepa

Together with existing management, Ardian, the independent private investment company, is acquiring d&b audiotechnik GmbH (“d&b”) from the investment companies Odewald & Compagnie and COBEPA.

d&b specializes in acoustic systems and has operations worldwide. The participation in d&b is already the 13th investment by Ardian 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.”

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