If you’ve not heard the latest big audio news by now, here it is – Fender is buying PreSonus. In a press release sent out on November 1st, both companies announced their intention, although not many specifics were provided. The deal will not be final until it earns various U.S. regulatory approvals.
Users Are Scared
As you would expect, PreSonus users are scared to death as to what might happen with a large corporate entity like Fender in the drivers seat.
History shows that most acquisitions don’t work out well for the company being acquired. It’s usually absorbed into the larger entity, and even though it remains as a brand, the essence of the company is lost.
This then leaves formerly happy users looking for a replacement.
It’s Not Always Bad Though
That’s not always the case though. Yamaha has shown a deft hand with acquisitions like Steinberg and Line 6.
Although the Yamaha fingerprints are now all over those companies, they haven’t changed substantially to the user, which is ultimately what counts.
A Little Back Story
PreSonus is about as good a story as you can have in the audio business. Started in 1995 by Jim Odom and Brian Smith, the company has grown steadily over the years. With a home base in Baton Rouge, the company has contributed mightily to a local economy which needed a boost.
The company was always on the cutting edge right from its first product, the DCP8, which was a digitally controlled, 8-channel analog compressor/limiter/gate with fader and mute automation as well as grouping all under digital control. It’s series of Studio Live consoles were some of the first to include wireless remote control and monitor mixing, built-in room analysis, and on-board recording capabilities.
When PreSonus decided to enter the software business, it did it with a flair, releasing Studio One, which is beloved by a strong cadre of users that continues to grow. And its studio speaker and sound reinforcement products also have a strong following.
All this was done with an eye to keeping the prices reasonable on all its products.
Fender has acquired many companies in the past, some which continue as strong brands and others that have less visibility than before. The company owns Guild Guitar Company, Sunn Amplifier Company, SWR Sound Corporation, Tacoma Guitars, Kaman Music Corporation (Ovation), Bigsby, Jackson, Charvelle, and EVH. It also handles the production, marketing and distribution for Gretsch products, although ownership still resides with the Gretsch family.
In 2020 Fender was acquired by Servco Pacific, which has been an investor in the company for 50 years.
So here’s to PreSonus for 25 years of a job well done. Fingers crossed that its users have nothing to be afraid of.