High Wycombe audio company Focusrite pays more than £12m for audio manufacturer

Focusrite Linea Research

Focusrite plc, the High Wycombe-based global music and audio products company, has reported revenue in line with Board expectations for the first half of the year. It’s also announced the acquisition of Linea Research Holdings Ltd, a UK based designer and manufacturer of professional audio equipment for £12.6 million

Revenues for the first half of 2022 are expected to be not less than £91 million. As previously reported, revenue during the comparative period in the first half of 2021 (£95.3 million) was exceptionally high.  Comparatives will ease in the second half of the financial year.

Industry wide global factors, such as supply constraints due to the shortage of electronic components and high freight costs, have resulted in some downward pressure on gross margin in the short term.  The Group continues to take a variety of actions to manage these challenges and meet demand.  Additionally, in view of the conflict in Ukraine, the Group has suspended all sales to the Russian Federation and to the Republic of Belarus, with sales to Ukraine not currently possible. Trade with these countries is transacted via distributors and makes up a very small proportion of the Group’s revenue and is expected to be replaced by demand from other regions. 

Linea, headquartered in Letchworth Garden City, UK was formed in 2003 by a team of experienced professional audio specialists, and they design, develop, manufacture and market innovative professional audio equipment globally.  Their products include a range of ground-breaking amplifiers, including the world-renowned M Series, together with Digital Signal Processors, audio networking and software products. Two of the original founders, Davey Smalley, Commercial Director, and Ben Ver, Engineering Director, will continue to lead the business post-acquisition.   

In the year ended 28 February 2022, Lineaunaudited revenue was £5.2 million. 

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 prestigious festivals such as British Summer Time in Hyde Park.

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. However it is also the intention to continue to develop the sales of Linea products through third-party distribution and to OEM loudspeaker customers.

By extending the Group’s business into new products and markets, which complement its existing offerings, the acquisition is strategically aligned with the Group’s previously communicated aims of growing the core customer base, expanding into new markets, and increasing lifetime value for customers.

Tim Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

In a joint statement Davey Smalley and Ben Ver, Directors at Linea commented: “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.”