Wigwam and SSE Audio Group Join Forces

SSE Audio Group has acquired Wigwam Acoustics, creating the largest audio hire, sales and installation group in the UK.

As part of the deal, which is seen as major consolidation in the audio and live event industry, Wigwam’s Mick Spratt and Chris Hill have taken a shareholding in SSE Audio Group, with Mick Spratt joining the SSE board.

John Penn, Managing Director of the expanding Group commented: “We are extremely proud to announce that we have joined forces with Wigwam. There are great synergies between the two companies and together we aim to deliver even better service and a wider choice to our enlarged client base. With the additional premises in Heywood, and the combined equipment pool, experience and services of both companies together, we believe we are in a great position to move forward.”


Both companies have a strong presence in the UK touring market and have been involved in its growth and development over the past 35 Years, working with numerous artists including UB40, Simply Red, Madness, Metallica, ACDC, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, Madonna, Bjork, Spice Girls, Boyzone, Oasis and The Stone Roses.

SSE Audio Group has become synonymous with the provision of audio production to the majority of the UK’s leading music festivals, including Reading & Leeds, V Festivals, T in the Park and Download, while Wigwam has a strong reputation for high quality audio in the touring market with artists at stadium level, including Coldplay, One Direction and George Michael.

SSE and Wigwam both have strong sales and installations divisions and these will now be integrated.

Alex Penn has been appointed Sales Director to lead the expanded equipment sales department.

SSE Installations, headed up by Director Emma Bigg is strong in the nightclub sector where its engineers install and service AV equipment at numerous venues around the country.

Following the acquisition by SSE Audio Group of ETA Sound in 2012, the installation and servicing of PAVA (Public Address & Voice Alarm) equipment in arenas, stadiums and public spaces countrywide has been added to the portfolio. Wigwam is particularly active in installations in complementary markets such as cathedrals, churches and theatres.

Mick Spratt Director of Wigwam said: “We have been talking to SSE about joining up for some time. Chris (Hill) and I were looking for a route to secure a long term future for Wigwam and our staff that would be least disruptive to what is a very successful company. We’ve known and respected John & Heather Penn for over 30 years and believe that both companies have similar cultures and vision. SSE puts customer service at the heart of its business practices and we at Wigwam operate in a similar way, so we believe that this merger will only enhance the services we can offer to our clients.”

Yan Stile, SSE’s Hire Director and founder of Canegreen, which joined SSE Audio Group in 2008 added: “I didn’t know what to expect when Canegreen merged with SSE five years ago, and it was a strange feeling to lose control as Pete Edmonds and myself had run our own business for 30 years, but I have to say it was the best thing we ever did and I’ve had absolutely no regrets from day one. Being involved in a larger company with all the backup and support of SSE’s brilliant team of staff has been absolutely fantastic. I’m so pleased that the Wigwam guys have had the same foresight and we can’t wait to get it all moving along now.”

John Penn added: “From the customer perspective nothing will change at Wigwam. The company is very successful and much loved, and we don’t want to mess about with that formula. What we can add are our information technology systems and equipment management software, which are known to be leading edge in the industry, and of course our combined equipment pool will enable the Group to offer L’Acoustics, D&B, Meyer, Adamson & Nexo systems to both companies’ clients. Mick & Chris will still be there but will have more time to spend looking after their customers.”

Wigwam’s Chis Hill concluded: “By bringing the two companies together both have a bright future. We have an exceptionally strong young team led by Spencer Beard (Hire Operations Director), which is poised to take the enlarged company forward. The next generation is secured for Wigwam and SSE.”

Wigwam’s Manchester base will be added to SSE’s current locations, with its Head Office in Redditch plus London and Bradford, Paris and Nantes. The expanded company now employs 140 full time staff with combined revenue in excess of £20 million.

info: www.wigwamacoustics.co.uk
info: www.sseaudiogroup.com

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