Pioneer to sell off its iconic DJ brand

Japan’s internationally recognised audio company Pioneer is selling off its DJing equipment branch to a US firm for $551 million, Reuters reported this week. Pioneer DJ – the brand behind such iconic products as the CDJ-500 (the world’s first DJ-oriented CD player) – will be sold to private equity firm KKR & Co by March next year, to allow Pioneer to concentrate on its automotive electronics business. Pioneer also announced the sale of its home AV sector to Onkyo Corp last week.

“We’re trying to transform our auto-related business and are investing a lot into that… We realised we wouldn’t be able to invest in the DJ business so it would be better to spin it off and grow it independently,” Pioneer President Susumu Kotani told a press conference, despite the fact that Pioneer’s DJing products currently have a 60-percent share of the global DJ equipment market, and the brand made a 20-percent profit last financial year.

Pioneer will retain a 14.95-percent vote in Pioneer DJ under the terms of the agreement. The private equity firm KKR is famous for making leveraged buyouts of companies – including the famous $25 billion buyout of Oreo manufacturer RJR Nabisco in 1988, renowned for being the largest ever buyout at that time. The London Evening Standard reports that the buyout signals a move by KKR to “tap into the booming global dance music scene.” Take a look back at the birth of the iconic CDJ-500 in this instructional video from 1994.

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