RSM advises on management buyout at Northampton-based guitar amp maker

RSM has advised the management of Northampton-based Blackstar Amplification on its successful buyout from Foresight Group, the independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager.

Blackstar was founded in 2004 by four friends and bandmates who collaborated on the design and manufacture of new and innovative guitar amplifiers and pedals. The group spent two and a half years performing intensive technical research in a garden shed in Northampton before the first Blackstar products were launched in March 2007.

Blackstar today is an  award winning leading global brand with revenues in excess of  £10m. It has over 45 products sold in 52 countries worldwide, its products being used by artists including Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne/Firewind), Neal Schon (Journey), Silenoz (Dimmu Borgir) and James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers). All research, financial, sales and marketing functions are based in Northampton with manufacturing in the Far East.

Foresight originally invested £3.5m in 2012 to provide growth capital and to partially restructure the shareholder base. The secondary management buyout, backed by Shawbrook Bank, will allow the company to regain its independence and gives the founding management team (now owning a majority share in the business) the opportunity to take the business into a new phase in its development.

Stephen Orriss who led the advisory team from RSM said:

‘Blackstar is a world renowned brand and this transaction enables the business to continue to grow as it enters the next chapter of its development. We were delighted to support the management team in this transaction and we wish them every success in the future.’

Gary Smith, corporate partner at Freeths, Milton Keynes handled the legal aspects. Gary Smith said:

‘Having acted for Blackstar for over 8 years it was a real pleasure to see the management team bring this deal together to deliver what is a truly transformative deal for the future of Blackstar, its management team and employees and its customers. The transaction was also a perfect example of the great teams at RSM and Freeths working together to deliver the result desired by the Blackstar management team.’

Ian Robinson, co-Founder and Managing Director said:

‘This marks an exciting new chapter in Blackstar’s history, which will allow us to retain our independence and gives us the opportunity to take our business to the next level. We are looking forward to forging a strong relationship with Shawbrook, who have shown a real interest in our business and future growth strategy, and many years of working with our distributors, dealers and, most of all, our customers to continue to deliver “The Sound In Your Head”.’

Paul Hayhoe, co-Founder and Sales & Marketing Director said:

‘It’s been a pleasure to work with professionals like Stephen Orriss at RSM and Gary at Freeths, their deep knowledge and experience has been fundamental to us delivering this transaction.’