The McIntosh Group, which owns or handles distribution in various parts of the world for high-end audio brands including McIntosh, Sonus Faber, Rotel, Pro-ject and Sumiko, has been acquired by Dallas-based private equity firm Highlander Partners, L.P., the company announced Wednesday.

McIntosh Group owns and is anchored by the prestigious Binghamton, N.Y.-based McIntosh brand, long noted for its high quality tube amps and related Hi-Fi components, along with Italian speaker brand Sonus Faber. The firm also holds certain distribution rights for 60-year-old Japanese audio company Rotel. The company also controls Fine Sounds U.K. and Fine Sounds Benelux. The ownership of the Group has changed hands several times over the years.

In 2014 Mauro Grange and Charlie Randall, president of McIntosh Laboratory, led a management buyout of the formerly named Fine Sounds Group in partnership with LBO France and Yarpa, including a relocation of the Headquarters from Milan to New York. The company name was change to McIntosh Group in 2016.

According to the statement, “McIntosh Group provides fully integrated distribution services across North America, Central and South America, the United Kingdom, and Benelux for their owned brands as well as several third-party brands including Pro-Ject (premium turntables), Rotel (premium amplifiers and electronics), and Bassocontinuo (Italian-crafted audio racks). The Group also includes an automotive entertainment business, providing audio technology for select premium models, including the Grand Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Cherokee L under the McIntosh brand and the Maserati Grecale and MC20 under Sonus Faber.”

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In 2020 Audio Research left the McIntosh Group through a sale to its former North American sales manager.

New owner Highlander Partners has global offices in Warsaw, Poland, and Bucharest, Romania. It is said to participate “predominantly in majority ownership transactions” and “has been involved in 80 such transactions with total transaction value of $4 billion.”

Highlander Partners, Dallas, TX, currently holds investments worth $2 billion.

In a statement on the acquisition, Jeff Hull, Highlander Partners President and CEO, said, “We have been evolving our investment strategy around consumer-focused brands and luxury goods over several years. The opportunity to acquire brands as strong as those within the McIntosh Group does not come often and we are very excited to be part of the Company’s next chapter. We believe there is a unique opportunity to acquire other consumer luxury technology brands and intend to stay active in the category.”

Jeff Poggi and Charles Randall, co-CEOs of the McIntosh Group, added “We are thrilled to continue to pursue our growth trajectory alongside the Highlander team. Across all brands and product categories we continue to see remarkable results and an excess of opportunity; we believe Highlander’s financial approach and operational expertise can help seize these prospects.”

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By Greg Tarr

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