DW acquires KMC licensed and owned brands including Gretsch
I wanted to take a moment to address the recent news that DW has acquired several of the licensed and owned brands of KMC. I have been getting calls and emails from customers wondering what this means for Gretsch, and since we are such a large Gretsch dealer I wanted to weigh in here and give you my thoughts. And, I will preface it all with this comment: Everyone can relax. It will be fine. Here’s why:
I am in an interesting position here because I know many of the people involved (Fred Gretsch, who owns Gretsch; the wonderful folks at KMC who have been the licensed distributor, and I know and respect Don Lombardi. And, although I do not know Chris Lombardi, DW’s CEO, I know that he appreciates the legacy of Gretsch as much as he does the Legacy of the DW brand). I also have a somewhat unique perspective here because before I started my drum shops I spent thirty two years running large businesses of other types and spent the last ten of those years doing Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). So, I know the people involved and I am very familiar with the M&A process.
In my view, an acquisition of this type is typically made because the acquirer knows and values the brands being acquired. And, when an investment of this type is made, it is in everyone’s best interest to preserve the integrity of the acquired brands and to help grow them. In all my years of involvement in M&A, no one ever went into that process saying “Let’s spend a bunch of money and trash the business”. Knowing the people involved here, I am confident that the intent is to nurture and grow the already excellent Gretsch brand.
As I mentioned above, Gretsch is family owned. Fred owns the company and KMC owned the license for distribution. DW will now handle the distribution license. The good people at DW will, in my opinion, assist in helping to grow and expand the already excellent Gretsch brand. Keep in mind that I certainly am not a party to the details of this in any way, but am simply stating my opinion as to what I feel will take place here. There are always bumps in the road when an acquisition occurs, but there are bumps in ANY road and they get handled and things move on. I would suggest that the drums produced by Gretsch today will likely be built in the same place and by the same people, and that the DW team will be keenly focused on ways to grow and expand that brand, and my guess would be that they will also look to retain key people within that organization who have the knowledge and expertise with the brand.
Anyhow, in general, that’s how the M&A process works, and in my view this transaction will work out very well. Trust me, with as much Gretsch business as I do, if I thought this would be a debacle I would be the first guy out the door. But I am not. I am poised to order more, a lot more.