Investment firm buys jukebox maker


Grand Rapids-based AMI Entertainment Network, founded in 1909, makes jukeboxes for restaurants and bars. Photo via

A local jukebox maker has been sold to an out-of-state investment firm.

The Gores Group, based in Los Angeles, said yesterday it acquired Grand Rapids-based AMI Entertainment Network.

The company’s previous owner, the St. Louis-based private equity firm Harbor Group, had owned AMI since 2004.

John Margold, AMI SVP of sales, told the Business Journal the Harbor Group was patient during the past 14 years, as AMI settled into the digital space.

AMI was founded in 1909 as an automated musical instrument company and has long been part of the “coin-operated” entertainment industry, but in 2004, it was new to the digital jukebox world.

“It took longer to get up to speed and in market share to be profitable with a great story to tell to a potential buyer,” Margold said. “Harbor Group was very supportive and as patient as any firm could be. They’re not naïve, and they were at a point they were ready to move on and invest in other companies.”

AMI makes digital jukeboxes and video systems, which play in bars and restaurants, and its products can be found in more than 30,000 locations across the globe.

The Gores Group acquired AMI through an investment process with its Small Capitalization Partners Investment fund.

“AMI is a high-quality leader in its space, and we look forward to working closely with (AMI CEO) Mike Maas and the rest of the AMI team,” The Gores Group Managing Director Jon Gimbel said. “Our growth capital will allow the company to continue to develop innovative products that their customers deserve, while continuing to expand their geographic reach.”

Growth for AMI could come organically or through acquisitions with The Gores Group’s capital base, Gimbel said.

Margold said early indications suggest there will not be any substantive changes to the way AMI operates. He did mention there are synergies with other pieces of The Gores Group portfolio, which can help AMI expand its offerings in new locations and revenue sources.

“Day-to-day, I think they will be hands-off,” Margold said. “They won’t expect us to expand into area we know nothing about, but are very likely willing to invest to be able to expand us.

“They don’t buy companies to stay the same size.”

AMI has other offices in Chicago, Philadelphia, as well as the U.K.

The company acquired the U.K.-based NSM Music Group Limited earlier this year.

“We are thrilled to partner with Gores to continue to provide state-of-the-art entertainment to our customers,” Maas said. “We look forward to working with the Gores team and benefiting from their expertise and financial operational resources as we enter the next chapter of our growth.”

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