Explaining Southern California's economy

Fender IPO shows how much private equity loves the guitar world

Les Paul

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Leo Fender gifted this Fender guitar to Les Paul in 1951. The legendary guitar maker has just priced its IPO.

Fender, the legendary guitar maker — around since the 1940s! — filed for an IPO earlier this year and has now priced the offering: between $13 and $15 per share. The company will raise about $160 million, says the LA Times. This is actually less than the company expected to raise when it filed back in March and could reflect an overall pullback in the IPO market, after Facebook's disappointing debut.

The goal for Fender remains the same: pay off debt. It has $246 million, and according to Businessweek, it wants to shed half of that. Boston-based Weston Presidio owns 43 percent of Fender and will see a $50 million payday from the IPO:

Analysts would ordinarily be skeptical of a company that’s going public to help balance its books. Investors prefer companies with clear plans to expand; they don’t usually want to help pay for acquisitions and debts already undertaken. But Fender has something going for it that very few others possess: It’s an iconic brand people truly love.

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