Foresight powers Blackstar with £3.5 million investment

The Boards of Foresight VCT PLC and Foresight 4 VCT PLC are pleased to announce Foresight Group (“Foresight”) has completed a growth capital investment of £3.5 million in Blackstar Amplification Limited (“Blackstar” or “the Company”), the UK-based designer and manufacturer of innovative guitar amplifiers and effects pedals.

Blackstar, founded in 2004, has a mission to create new and innovative guitar amplifiers and pedals designed to give guitarists the ultimate tools for self-expression.  After two and a half years of extensive technical research and development, Blackstar commercially launched its first range of critically acclaimed amplifiers at the Frankfurt Musik Messe show in 2007. Five years on and Blackstar has become a global brand with over 45 products sold in 52 countries worldwide.

The invested capital will be used to restructure the Company’s shareholder base and support the forthcoming launch of the eagerly anticipated ID:Series.  Having been in technical development for over two years, the ID:Series is Blackstar’s first programmable guitar amplifier range and represents the first time the Company has entered the market with an entry level product accessible to all guitarists.  At the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) tradeshow in Tennessee, USA in early July 2012, the ID:Series won critical acclaim and industry awards for its innovation and sound quality. The ID:Series will be on sale in retailers worldwide in the coming months.

Keith Pacey, formerly Executive Chairman and CEO of Maplin Electronics, is joining the Blackstar Board as a Non-Executive Director. Keith is currently Non-Executive Chairman of greeting cards retailer, Card Factory, and Mountain Warehouse, the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer.

Darrell Connell, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight will also join the Blackstar Board with immediate effect.  He commented: “Having worked together for over 13 years, the diverse and complementary skillset of the four Blackstar founders and their highly talented team has been the single most critical factor in the Company’s success to date.  We look forward to partnering with the Blackstar team at such an exciting period in the Company’s history and have every confidence that the newly launched ID:Series will take the worldwide guitar amplifier market by storm.”

Ian Robinson, MD of Blackstar added: “This deal marks the culmination of a 12 month search for the right investor to partner with Blackstar for the next period of business development. Foresight’s credentials are second to none and they really understand what drives a brand focused business like ours. Moving forward with an innovation led product development strategy, everything is now set for us to take Blackstar to the next level.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact
Foresight Group:
Ben Thompson, Marketing Director bthompson@foresightgroup.eu  +44 (0)20 3667 8155

Notes to Editors

About Foresight Group
Foresight is an independent specialist private equity, environmental and infrastructure investor, which focuses primarily on investments in unquoted UK and European companies or projects and offers investors exclusive access to attractive income and growth opportunities.
Foresight has in excess of £670 million assets under management across a number of funds, including Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).
Foresight’s Private Equity team, comprised of nine investment professionals, invests between £1m and £5m in management buy-outs, management buy-ins and growth capital investments in UK SMEs.  The strength and depth of the team has enabled Foresight to lead the consolidation of the VCT sector, taking over the management mandates of established VCTs, such as Advent VCT, Advent 2 VCT, Noble VCT, Keydata Income 1 and 2 VCTs, Acuity Growth VCT and Acuity 3 VCT, from other investment managers.
www.foresightgroup.eu

About Blackstar Amplifiers Ltd
http://www.blackstaramps.co.uk/about/introduction.php