Focal founder and chairman Jacques Mahul steps down as new investors take majority stake in the merged Focal-Naim audio group, now renamed Vervent Audio Group

Naim and Focal-JMLab, which merged back in 2011, are to enter a new chapter with the news that investor Naxicap Partners has acquired a majority stake in the group, alongside French private equity firm Aquasourca and the existing management team.

Focal and Naim will be renamed the Vervent Audio Group (VAG) and Focal founder Jacques Mahul steps down as chairman, although he will continue to support the company as a brand ambassador.

The new VAG group will have annual sales of more than €60m across 70 countries.

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Christophe Sicaud, CEO of Focal and Naim, says: "We are thrilled to begin this new stage in our history wth the strong support of Naxicap and Aquasourca. Their investment represents a resounding endorsement of our company's success and our commitment to R&D and creating innovative, high-quality products for our customers."

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Paul Stephenson, managing director of Naim, adds: "Naim has a dynamic roadmap for business growth going forward. We welcome our new investors and their shared vision for our future."

Naim recently unveiled its new Muso wireless music system (below) which is due to go on sale this September for £895, marking a departure from the company's more traditional hi-fi products.

Naim Muso

Meanwhile, Angele Faugier of Naxicap says: "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to back Christophe Sicaud and his outstanding management team. We look forward to supporting the teams in Saint-Etienne, France and Salisbury, UK as they continue to build a leadership position in th global audio industry."

Naxicap Partners is a French investment company that manages €537m of capital and has offices in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Nantes. Since its creation in 1998, private equity firm Aquasourca has invested in more than 150 companies with a combined annual turnover of €3.2bn and 15,000 employees.

When Focal and Naim first merged in 2011 their aim was to create a new pan-European hi-fi company with a combined turnover in excess of £48m.

Focal & Co owned and managed Focal and Naim as independent brands, retaining their own philosophies and product ranges, but collaborating on research and development. Focal-JMlab currently employs 200 people at its site in St Etienne, France while Naim has 125 employees at its Salisbury HQ in the UK where the company was founded 40 years ago.

By Andy Clough

 

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