French loudspeaker manufacturers Active Audio and APG announced at ProLight+Sound 2016 the signing of a strategic alliance. While both brands will remain independent in their respective activities – and through distribution channels – Active Audio will continue to focus on the Public Address market while APG will still cater for live events and large venue installations. The decision to join forces will foster critical synergies between both companies in R&D, production, financing and ultimately global reach.
As a result, Régis Cazin, steps up as CEO of both Active Audio and APG with immediate effect. Active Audio will now hold 60% of APG shares while APG’s historical shareholders, Jean-Luc Moncel, Philippe Frarier and Grégory Dapsanse, will hold the majority of the remaining shares.
Commenting on the agreement, Cazin enthused: “All stakeholders at APG and Active Audio feel elated to have this new alliance in place. This immensely reinforces the potential of both companies, and will prove a tremendous development accelerator for us all. Although Active Audio becomes a major shareholder in APG, we recognise APG’s strong reputation in the market, backed by many dealers and end users who have invested a lot of trust in the company. We wanted APG’s historical shareholders to remain significant shareholders in order to be actively involved in both strategic and operational decisions. We are adamant to preserve both brands and their respective strengths.”
Both companies will also keep their existing network of distributors and capitalise on their respective local relays to promote the other brand where only one company is active in a given territory. This alliance is the result of a common vision and strategy: Active Audio was looking for external growth while APG France was seeking an investor or industrial partner in order to strengthen its resources. With this alliance, both companies reinforce their position as a challenger to current industry leaders.
Discussions started in November 2015, and both companies quickly found a number of strategic and operational synergies, with complementary product lines and virtually no overlap: a great opportunity for existing distributors of both brands which will also benefit end users. According to Cazin: “sound designers have to manage both the low and high audio power levels in their jobs. With Active Audio products going up to 95dB range and APG’s above this level, we are ideally positioned to offer a whole range of solutions to cater for every need.”
Grégory Dapsanse, who becomes Marketing and Business Development Director for APG, will continue to define the product strategy for the brand. Drawing a parallel between both companies, he commented: “The similarities between us are quite amazing. Not only do we have a similar size and structure, but our philosophy and approach of the acoustic world is a perfect match.
Here you have two true French speaker manufacturers who are both designers and assemblers, and whose common goal is to develop high end audio systems. Our core goals are acoustic restitution, directivity and signal management, so the possibilities for a collaboration were perfectly obvious and made so much sense.”
Both companies will keep all existing staff. In fact, in light of this alliance, Active Audio and APG have already started recruiting key personnel to support this new business strategy. Last month, APG hired two engineers (support and product) and are in the process of recruiting a sales manager dedicated to the French market as well as a sales assistant, while Active Audio has recruited two people to support their distribution channel and communications.
Summing up this announcement, Cazin said: “I am confident that the strong electroacoustic savoir-faire of our companies, along with the synergies produced by this alliance, will help us continue to develop the specific technologies and solutions that the industry can expect from us and set us aside from the competition.”