We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – nobody spends tens of millions of pounds on acquiring a company, and then proceeds to do things in the same way they’ve always been. And on the rare occasions this happens, it’s because someone somewhere knows deep down that the acquisition makes no logical sense – just ask Epic Games and Bandcamp.
Last summer, Wez Saunders made an audacious attempt to take over Defected – and since previous owner and founder Simon Dunmore wanted an exit, he grabbed it with both hands. Since then, everyone has wondered – what did Saunders, who has always been more commercially minded than his predecessor, have in mind for the future?
Not much was the initial answer. Ears To The House spoke to a number of industry insiders, and their answers were much the same – namely that Saunders wanted to make changes, but he didn’t want to do too much and too quickly. A lot of money was spent on the takeover – with Simon Dunmore reportedly earning a seven figure sum out of the deal – and a lot was at stake.
But as this year has gone on, the substance of the Saunders era has started to make itself known – and the latest plan is Defected apparently joining up with The Circuit Group. Never heard of them? Er, that’s because The Circuit Group is… *checks notes to make sure this is definitely right*… three weeks old.
As we understand it, this is a partnership – and Wez Saunders remains fully in charge of Defected, as he emphasises in a post on Instagram…
So what’s the reason for Saunders deciding to do this? The answer is surprisingly simple – he even reveals it in his statement. It is because “The Circuit Group will provide us with opportunities… in North America”.
Quite simply, Defected wants to expand into the USA – a market that the company has always historically found difficult. Protectionist policies promoted by America mean that European artists – including the largely British roster on Defected – end up paying a significant premium for the privilege when touring or working in the country.
The question now is what The Circuit Group is getting out of the arrangement – let’s face it, those running it, including CEO Dean Wilson, aren’t amateurs. And again, the answer is simple – Defected are going to help The Circuit Group’s mostly American roster to expand within the UK and Europe.
This whole situation reminds us of a scene in the 1993 episode Last Exit To Springfield of The Simpsons. In it, Homer Simpson and Mr Burns are talking in the office about a new contract for the unions. As Mr Burns continues to talk, Homer soon gets the false impression that the boss of the nuclear power plant is hitting on him.
One can only wonder which one is Dean Wilson and which one is Wez Saunders. But not too much…