A British games and Jukebox entrepreneur, Alexander Walder-Smith, has acquired Rock-Ola, the last authentic American Jukebox manufacturing company and one of the world’s most iconic Jukebox brands.
Rock-Ola famously inspired the term ‘Rock and Roll’, and has been manufacturing games and Jukeboxes since 1927, starting out in Chicago and later moving to California’s West coast, seen by many as the jukebox’s spiritual home.
He plans to revolutionize Rock-Ola’s market presence by manufacturing a brand new 45rpm vinyl Jukebox, which not only features a powerful state of the art speaker system but also offers music streaming from phones and tablets, thereby representing a unique blend of mid-century styling and 21st century technology. The current owner Glenn Streeter will stay on for the next two years and help expand its range beyond Jukeboxes into more home entertainment and recreational room products.
Walder-Smith has overseen a spectacular period of growth with his British based luxury games and Jukebox business, The Games Room Company. Rock-Ola has been one of his key suppliers as they manufacture the prestigious and instantly recognizable ‘Bubbler’, with its rotating multi-colored pilasters and ascending air bubbles. Rock-Ola’s pioneering designs have shaped the popular image of jukeboxes over the last 90 years, and the company is now the only authentic American Jukebox manufacturer left on the planet. Streeter said “The two companies have a shared history dating back decades; the Games Room Company is the official UK retailer of Rock-Ola jukeboxes, and has been selling and restoring vintage Jukeboxes since 1962. With their peerless knowledge of the background and workings of these products, Alexander was a natural choice to take the helm.”
The Rock-Ola purchase has been financed by Vita Nova Hedge Fund, which is managed by the award-winning investment house Managing Partners Group. CEO Jeremy Leach has tracked the Games Room Company’s success and has backed Walder-Smith’s transatlantic venture. Leach commented “We are delighted to have been involved with the acquisition of Rock-Ola, which is a perfect private equity venture for Vita Nova and it is quite special to have had the opportunity to participate in the acquisition of one of America’s most iconic brands”.
Walder-Smith said “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am pleased to be working with Glenn and the long-standing team at Rock-Ola as we take the company towards it centenary. This is one of America’s great brands, up there with Harley Davidson and Jack Daniels, and as we move into the exciting next stage, we’ll be dramatically raising its profile across the world. Using our expertise in these products and knowledge of marketing we will capitalize on the vinyl trend and introduce the only authentic American manufactured 45rpm vinyl Jukebox to the world”
He added “As well as investing in manufacturing we have plans to leverage ecommerce capabilities and digital marketing tactics to reach a global audience online, starting with a new website launch on Shopify technology’’