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Focusrite buys Dave Smith’s Sequential in £18 million deal

Graeme Evans
·2-min read
<p>The company is based in San Francisco</p> (Focusrite)

The company is based in San Francisco

(Focusrite)

Audio products group Focusrite today bought a slice of music history with an £18 million deal for Sequential, the synthesizer business led by Grammy winner Dave Smith.

Smith created the world’s first fully programmable polysynth, the Prophet 5, and was also behind the 1982 invention of MIDI, which is still in use today as a common interface allowing communication between music instruments.

Sequential is headquartered in San Francisco, having been started by Smith as Sequential Circuits in 1974. He will continue to run the business following the deal, which expands Focusrite’s range of premium-end products for electronic artists.

Phil Dudderidge, Led Zeppelin’s first soundman who is now chairman of High Wycombe-based Focusrite, said: “Dave has literally changed the world of music several times.

“We are looking forward to continuing his history of innovation and expanding the global market for Sequential’s instruments.”

Focusrite hopes the R&D teams of Sequential and its own Novation instruments brand can bring new products to market as part of its mission of “removing barriers to creativity”.

This is the third major acquisition by Focusrite since its AIM flotation in December 2014, with the others being ADAM Audio for £16.2 million in July 2019 and Martin Audio for £39.2 million in December the same year.

The new additions meant revenues for the six months to February 28 jumped by 90% to £95.3 million in interim results also published today.

Adjusted operating profits were £26.3 million, compared with £6.4 million a year earlier, with the performance also benefiting from high demand for home-based amateur and professional audio recording equipment.

CEO Tim Carroll said: “We continue to see challenges, most notably component supply issues that are impacting many industries. However, we believe our strong relationships with our contract manufacturers and component suppliers will enable us, over time, to navigate successfully through this.”

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