Audio software company Sonnox has been acquired in a £9.1 million deal.

The Oxford company will join AIM-listed Focusrite, a global music and audio products group based in High Wycombe.

Focusrite plc supplies hardware and software used by professional and amateur musicians and the entertainment industry. Sonnox designs audio processing software plug-ins for professional audio engineers and is used in a wide range of audio applications including mixing for music production, live sound, broadcast, TV & Film, and even scientific and forensics projects.

The deal includes £2.1m of cash and will be funded from existing facilities with HSBC and NatWest. Following the acquisition, the enlarged group will have net debt of approximately £13m.

For the year ended 31st March 2022, Sonnox’s revenue was £2.4m with profit before tax of 900,000 and gross assets of £3m. 

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The business is wholly owned by Rod Densham, who was one of the co-founders of the Sony Oxford startup that designed the legendary Oxford OXF-R3 for Sony Corporation. The console was installed in major recording studios worldwide and became widely accepted as the first ‘musical’ sounding digital console.  

As Digital Audio Workstations running on computers became the standard medium for audio to be recorded and edited, many hardware companies, including Sony, began porting their hardware signal processing to a ‘plug-in’ format that could be utilised in these workstations. 

Densham led the team at Sony that ported its audio digital signal processing algorithms into plug-ins, which he then acquired from Sony in 2007 to form Sonnox. Since then, it has continued to build on the Sony Oxford heritage together with adding a range of toolbox plug-ins designed for speed and simplicity.

Densham and his entire team of 16 will stay with the business post-acquisition.

“This is our first acquisition in the audio software market, and it is an absolute pleasure to welcome Rod and his entire team to the Focusrite Group,” said Tim Carroll, CEO of Focusrite plc. 

“Sonnox’s products are globally recognised as best in class, making them a natural fit in our stable, and we are all excited about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead with the collective expertise of our combined sales and R&D teams.”

Densham added: “Sonnox is in a strong financial position, expanding our customer base and consistently delivering profit. 

“We believe that by joining Focusrite with their scale, industry expertise and range of premium brands, we can continue to grow, and deliver innovation and excellence to audio hobbyists and professionals alike. 

“Focusrite have a proven track record of achieving this in our industry, and we are very excited to become part of their group.”

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