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JAM Industries CEO Martin Szpiro (left) and CFO Stuart Frenkel.

JAM Industries Acquired By DCC,
Valued At $170 Mil.

Irish-based conglomerate views top m.i. and audio distributor as key to North American expansion plans.

DCC, a diversified Dublin, Ireland-based distribution business with revenues of £14.3 billion ($18.7 billion), has taken a controlling interest in JAM Industries, the leading North American distributor of music and professional audio products, in a transaction that values the company at $170 million. JAM’s longstanding management team, which includes Martin Szpiro, CEO, who remains a shareholder, and Stuart Frenkel, CFO, will remain at the helm in what is expected to be a seamless transition. Szpiro commented, “By partnering with DCC, JAM has gained global reach and huge resource depth which will certainly accelerate growth plans in all of our three core sectors and into new territories. The partnership will allow us to grow scale and continue to invest in our supply chain expertise. The talent, dedication, and drive of our employees have helped to develop JAM into the world’s largest full-service music and accessories business. With the support of DCC, these same employees will help drive the business to even greater heights.”

Based in Montreal, JAM operates in three product segments—musical instruments, professional audio, and consumer audio—through business units in Canada and the United States that include KMC Music, American Music & Sound, Korg Canada, Coast Wholesale, B&J Canada, Erikson, and U.S. Music. The combined JAM operations employ 570 and had revenues of $323 million last year. DCC has four business units: LPG, which operates distributors of liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas throughout the U.K. and Europe; Retail and Oil, which operates gas stations under the Shell and Esso banners in Europe and the U.K.; Healthcare, which distributes health and beauty products to resellers; and Technology, which includes distributors of computer, mobile, and consumer electronics products.

"The partnership with JAM will extend
our geographic footprint and product range,
strengthening our relationship
with new and existing suppliers
while also broadening our base of customers."

JAM will operate within the Technology segment and is part of DCC’s strategic expansion in North America. Earlier in the year, the company acquired Stampede, a Buffalo-based distributor of professional video products with revenues of $280 million. Tim Griffin, DCC Technology managing director, said, “The partnership with JAM will extend our geographic footprint and product range, strengthening our relationship with new and existing suppliers while also broadening our base of customers. Following the acquisition of Stampede in July 2018, our investment in JAM means that we now have a $600 million+ revenue business in North America with a strong, service-led specialist focused on pro audio and visual technologies, musical instruments, and consumer electronics.”

JAM Industries was founded in 1972 by Martin Golden and Eddy Shenker. Golden had grown up in a family-owned music store, while Shenker was a trained accountant. Their divergent talents and personalities meshed perfectly as they built JAM into Canada’s premier distribution company, representing top brands including Audio-Technica, Korg, DW, Washburn, PreSonus, Gator, Tascam, and Focusrite. From a modest beginning, the duo built JAM into a $300 million business. Marty Szpiro, who joined the company in 1992, rose through the ranks and was named CEO after Eddy Shenker died in 2013. He also became an equity partner.

With a commanding share of the Canadian market, in 2000, JAM management turned its sights on the U.S., launching American Music & Sound as the U.S. distributor of Allen & Heath mixers. 2009 saw the acquisition of U.S. Music, owner of the Washburn and Oscar Schmidt guitar brands, followed in 2014 by the acquisition of Davitt & Hanser. 2015 saw JAM’s most significant transaction with the acquisition of KMC Music from Fender Musical Instruments.

JAM’s U.S. musical instrument operations have since been consolidated under the KMC Music banner and the leadership of Mark Terry. American Music & Sound has since expanded to include distribution of Nord and Kurzweil keyboards and Focusrite electronics under the leadership of Lynn Martin. Logistics for both KMC and AM&S are handled by an automated distribution center outside Memphis, Tennessee.

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