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Music giant Focusrite acquires audio equipment maker Linea Research Holdings

By Stephen Emerson
15 March 2022
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Focusrite has acquired Linea Research Holdings in a deal that will create a UK music production and hardware powerhouse.

The High Wycombe firm has acquired Linea for a total of £12.6 million with the company's two original founders commercial director  Davey Smalley and engineering director Ben Ver continuing to lead the business post-acquisition. 

Focusrite is a global music and audio products company which supplies hardware and software used by professional and amateur musicians alongside the entertainment industry while Linea  Research Holdings,  headquartered in Letchworth Garden City, design and manufactures professional audio equipment.

Focusrite's subsidiary Martin Audio is a significant customer of Linea - Linea technology is behind the successful iKON amplifier series that powers Wavefront Precision line arrays seen on live tours and at  festivals such as British Summer Time in Hyde Park (pictured).

The acquisition strengthens the critical source of supply of amplifier modules for Martin Audio and will enable greater integration of loudspeaker and amplifier technology in Martin Audio products.

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Tim Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of Focusrite , said: "It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Davey, Ben and the entire Linea team to the Focusrite Group. 

"We know the team and the business well given that Martin Audio is a major Linea customer. This will lead to many synergies and is expected to improve gross margin for both Martin Audio and the wider Group.

"Linea's products are globally recognised as best in class and we are all excited about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead with the collective expertise of the Linea and Focusrite Group R&D and sales teams."

Linea was formed in 2003 by a team of audio specialists who design, develop, manufacture and market innovative professional audio equipment globally. 

Their products include a range of ground-breaking amplifiers together with Digital Signal Processors, audio networking and software products.

In the year ended 28 February 2022,  Linea' s unaudited revenue was £5.2 million. EBITDA and EBIT, also unaudited,  were £1.2 million.

Focusrite expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing in the current financial year, excluding non-underlying transaction costs, and thereafter.

In a joint statement Davey Smalley and Ben Ver, Directors at Linea said:

"We are delighted to be able to continue the Linea success story from within the Focusrite Group. Having seen the support and growth of the brands within the Group, we believe this provides us with a secure foundation to further our R&D efforts and product portfolio, strengthening the Linea brand while continuing partnerships with our long-standing OEM partners. This can only be a good thing for our customers, end users and very much our staff."

Focusrite has agreed an initial consideration of £12.1m for Linea Research Holdings and will pay the remaining  £0.5m once key performance indicators have been met with the deal funded through the company's existing cash reserves and lending facilities provided by HSBC and NatWest.

Following the acquisition of Linea, the enlarged Group will have net cash of approximately £7 million.

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