Fender Musical Instruments Corp. Files For IPO


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| April 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

According to a story reported by the Reuters news agency, Fender Musical Instruments Corp., a manufacturer whose guitars have been used by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, has filed with U.S. regulators to raise as much as $200 million in an initial public offering (IPO).

Leo Fender formed the company in the 1940s, the Reuters story reported, and it was the first to mass-produce solid-body Spanish-style electric guitars, including the Stratocaster. In 1965, it was sold to the CBS television network. It was when the network began selling off its non-media businesses that then-Fender Chief Executive William Schultz partnered with some of the company’s international distributors to buy out Fender in 1984. Presently, Schultz and his family trust own about six percent of Fender, according to the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Weston Presidio, a private equity firm, owns a 43-percent stake.

Fender said in the filing that J.P. Morgan, Baird, Stifel Nicolaus Weisel and Wells Fargo Securities would be underwriting the offering. The company intends to use approximately $100 million of the proceeds to pay off debt. Because part of the debt repayment will be made to some of the banks underwriting the offering, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulations mandate the offering to have a qualified independent underwriter, the filing indicated. William Blair & Company would function as the independent underwriter in the offering.

The number of shares to be offered, of which a portion will be sold by some stockholders, and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined, according to Fender.

The company, which had net sales of just over $700 million in the fiscal year ended January 31, said it plans to apply to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “FNDR.” The amount of money a company says it intends to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO, however, could well be different.