Iconic British guitar amp manufacturer Marshall Amps is being acquired by Swedish firm Zound Industries – the company that currently produces Marshall headphones and speakers under license from the amp brand.
According to Zound CEO Jeremy de Maillard, the two firms will now sit under a new privately owned umbrella company, The Marshall Group, with the Marshall family owning a 24% stake in the new company.
The value of the deal has not been revealed, but The Verge is reporting it includes all of Marshall’s subsidiary brands (including its record label and Natal Drums) and that there are no plans to close or shift production away from Marshall Amps’ existing UK and Vietnam factories.
“We’ve already been working in close collaboration for the past 12 years,” says de Maillard, in an interview with The Verge. “We haven’t done a single product from Zound that hasn’t been approved by the acoustic engineer at Marshall Amps… It’s a complete continuation of what we do, except now we’re one and the same.”
Terry Marshall, son of the firm’s founder Jim Marshall has also issued a statement. (Fun fact: Jim and Terry Marshall’s initials determined the model name of Marshall’s iconic JTM45 – the amp that pretty much defined rock music.)
“Since my father and I created the original Marshall amp back in 1962, we have always looked for ways to deliver the pioneering Marshall sound to music lovers of all backgrounds and music tastes across the world,” says Marshall.
“I’m confident that the Marshall Group will elevate this mission and spur the love for the Marshall brand.”
De Maillard also reveals in his interview that some 90 percent of Zound’s sales currently come from Marshall-branded products and says he wants to focus on ensuring the two sides of the newly-formed Marshall Group will work together “more holistically”.
Exactly what that means for the guitarists remains to be seen, but the storied amp-maker has made very few new product announcements in recent years – with a notable exception for its Vintage Reissue pedals, which were leaked and subjected to a somewhat confusing debut.
The merger may also have advantages in enabling the often heritage-focused Marshall to compete with more tech-savvy, home practise brands such as Positive Grid. For example, producing more equipment that caters to both guitar amp and home audio purposes.
Fingers-crossed, then, that this proves to be good news for the iconic brand. Marshall Amps celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2022, at which point Guitarist magazine documented 20 milestone moments in Marshall’s 60-year quest for bigger, badder tone. It looks like 2023 will hail another milestone.