Pioneer DJ Just Got Sold To Noritsu, A Photo Printer Manufacturer

Remember how last year, Pioneer DJ looked like it was getting ready for a sale? They even rebranded the company that owns Pioneer DJ and Pioneer Pro Audio into “AlphaTheta”. Now, the massive investment firm KKR (who bought most of Pioneer DJ from Pioneer Electronics in 2015) is selling ownership of the company to Noritsu, a Japanese photo processing machine manufacturer.

Will Pioneer DJ Change?

As always with a sale like this, the executives and PR releases of the company sold are quick to waylay any fears about the company changing dramatically. The official short press release notes:

“Our business, operations, brands, including brand names will not be affected.

We will continue contributing to the music industry with our innovative products and superior service through Pioneer DJ, rekordbox, KUVO, TORAIZ, Pioneer Professional Audio brands.”

That might be true for specific customer-facing results, but the reality of ownership changing often means that the directives change. That’s something that we’ll only see the trickle-down results of – in product releases, organizational and staffing changes, prices, and so on.

What’s The Specifics Of The Sale?

The entire company just got purchased for about $606 million – about 65 billion Yen.

Editor’s update: we originally wrote that Pioneer DJ was purchased for less than what KKR purchased their shares of the company for in 2015 (they paid about $551 million) – but we didn’t factor in the loan as well. They paid more – about $55 million more.

A few more specifics of the deal were noted in this article from DealStreetAsia:

Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Noritsu said it will acquire all shares of AlphaTheta for 35 billion yen ($324.9 million), and will also use a 30 billion yen non-recourse loan to pay the interest-bearing debt of the target company. [..,]

The acquisition is aimed at increasing the profitability of the company’s businesses and achieving growth in the medium-term management plan, Noritsu said in a regulatory filing.

Noritsu makes photo processing, printing, and scanning equipment, as well as pharmacy automation equipment. They also own a couple of different companies that manufacture other goods – like Teibow, which makes pen nibs, cosmetics, and more.

While KKR made a good partner from being able to invest in the globalization of Pioneer DJ and provide an influx of capital, we suspect Noritsu may have a lot of resources to contribute to the actual manufacturing processes of Pioneer DJ gear.

What KKR Says

It’s interesting to hear what the company that is selling their ownership has to say – and it somewhat rings true with what we speculated back in 2015 about the sale:

“We are proud to have worked with the management team and employees of Pioneer DJ, now AlphaTheta, to assist the business’ growth in key global markets and to accelerate the company’s migration towards a software-subscription model to align with emerging industry trends – all as a standalone company,” Hiro Hirano, co-head of private equity for KKR Asia Pacific and CEO of KKR Japan, said in a statement on Monday.

The DealStreetAsia article mentions software subscription multiple times – something that many suspect will be even more prominent in an upcoming release of Rekordbox 6.

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