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Fender Files for $200 Million IPO

Fender Musical Instruments Corp has announced its plans to raise funds for a $200 million IPO.

Founded in 1946 by Leo Fender, the company mass-produced the modern electric guitar, creating the Stratocaster and the Telecaster in the 1950s and becoming a household name and the instrument brand for guitar players from Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck to John Frusciante and Tom Morello.


CBS Inc. bought the company in 1965, owning it for almost two decades before Fender Chief Executive William Shultz and other investors purchased it in 1984. According to the SEC, the Schultz trust now owns 6 percent of the Scottsdale, Arizona, company, while private equity firm Weston Presidio owns 43 percent. Japanese distributor Yamano Music holds the second-largest Fender stake, at 14 percent.


J.P. Morgan, Baird, Stifel Nicolaus Weisel, and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriting the offering, of which half of the proceeds will be used to pay off Fender’s $246.2 million debt. Because portions of Fender’s debt repayment will be made to the aforementioned banks, William Blair & Company will act as an independent underwriter. The remainder of the IPO’s proceeds will go toward working capital.


Fender, which reportedly netted $700.6 million in sales revenue last year, is applying to be listed on the NASDAQ under “FNDR.” The number of shares and price ranges for the IPO have not yet been determined.

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