pioneer turntable

We don’t need to get deep in the weeds here. Stories circulated this morning that Pioneer is “exiting the DJ business.” While technically true, these stories are conflating Pioneer and Pioneer DJ. “Pioneer DJ” is a company spun off from “Pioneer” itself more than four years ago.

The news itself is nearly a week old. Here’s a credible report from Nikkei Asian Review from May 1 2019:

U.S. private equity fund KKR and Japan’s Pioneer plan to sell off a jointly owned disc jockey equipment business, with a buyer expected to be chosen by autumn.

KKR is an American equity fund, still best known for taking RJR Nabisco private in the 1980s in what was the largest private equity deal of its time and subject of one of the best business books ever written, Barbarians At The Gate.

Pioneer DJ, the company, was spun off in September 2014 from Pioneer itself, as the latter wished to focus more on their car audio systems. KKR picked up 85% of Pioneer’s DJ business with the “old” Pioneer reserving 15% for itself:

Under the latest deal Pioneer said it would spin off its DJ unit, which makes equipment such as speakers, mixers, and turntables, into a separate company called Pioneer DJ that it will then sell to KKR by the end of March next year, leaving it with a 14.95 percent voting stake in the new company.

The news today – or rather last week – is that KKR and “old” Pioneer are seeking a new buyer for “Pioneer DJ.” This is what KKR does.

Resident Advisor had the story correct: “old” Pioneer is selling its minority stake in Pioneer DJ. Mixmag – which seems to be aggregating stories from RA, 5 Mag and others almost line-by-line these days – didn’t seem to grasp that Pioneer Corp and Pioneer DJ are separate companies when re-writing the RA story.

The final paragraph becomes outright fiction: Pioneer DJ wasn’t the company that “received a bailout of $930 million from Baring Private Equity Asia,” information they link to “Japan Time” [sic]. As the link (which was also copied from RA’s story) clearly states, it was Pioneer Corp – “old” Pioneer – that was bailed out.

This is maybe the fifth time I’ve seen this in the last few weeks, though for once they finally credited where they got the story from.

Happy to help.

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