The recent Wez Saunders takeover of the Defected empire came across as a surprise to pretty much the whole of the music press. Indeed, we at Ears To The House seemed to be the only ones who were aware that something was coming – we just weren’t quite sure on the specifics.
The exact terms of the management buyout which led to Saunders becoming the company’s head haven’t been disclosed – they almost certainly never are – but we already know from public records submitted to Companies House that Pinnacle Bank provided much of the money required to make it happen. But who are they?
As it happens, Pinnacle Bank has its roots in the state of Nebraska. The bank itself rose up from the ashes of the Great Depression, when brothers George and Tom Dinsdale found themselves with no bank. So in 1938, they decided to set up their own, serving their local community.
The Dinsdale family still own the bank now, which operates in eight different states across the USA. But the question remains of exactly how Pinnacle Bank became involved with Defected is a curious one. How do a bank in Nebraska and an events company based in London end up on the same path?
The answer might be to do with Wez Saunders himself. According to his own LinkedIn profile, Saunders worked for Deutsche Bank from August 1998 until June 2010. He did a vast number of different jobs within the company during his almost 12 years there and would almost certainly have had dealings with other banks in his time there.
We also notice that Saunders has a pretty impressive academic record, getting 9 GCSEs between grades A and C in 1996, and acquiring two different qualifications from the Open University during the 2010s. Make no mistake – Saunders is an incredibly bright man, but arguably one with more of an eye on the bottom line than his predecessor did.
The contacts he made during his time in the banking industry could well have come in useful when trying to navigate a potentially complex management buyout. And given the deal involved a bank from Nebraska and high-class Chicago law firm Mayer Brown, it would have required specialist knowledge to see it through…