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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DeBord Report on 'America Now with Andy Dean,' May 25 edition

Andy Dean Banner

It's the Tuesday after a holiday Monday, so it must be time for me to post my weekly business and economy segment from "America Now with Andy Dean." A day later than usual. We will be back on the non-holiday schedule next week!

Andy and I covered the complete disaster that the Facebook IPO has become, especially the potential trouble CFO David Ebersman may face.

But we also discussed the bloodletting at HP under new CEO Meg Whitman, as well as just replacing the entire IPO process with massive Japanese all-girl bands and — this is a very good one — Barry Diller's kindasorta completely aggressive attempt to resell the broadcast T.V. signal to digital users by, get this, renting special antennas! That last one is fascinating.

As usual, Andy and I have a pretty good time running down the week's big news in business. Check us out live this Friday at 4 p.m. Pacific Time!

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DeBord Report on 'America Now with Andy Dean,' May 18 edition

Andy Dean Banner

Apologies for not posting this earlier in the week. My regular weekly economy report on "America Now with Andy Dean" might make for some amusing listening now, given all the problems that Facebook has encountered, post-IPO. We talk extensively about how the IPO went down and what to expect. AND I got to lead off the show, which was a real thrill.

Additionally, I can use this opportunity tell you all to tune in today at 4 p.m. Pacific Time to listen to this week's report LIVE! It should be pretty exciting.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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Facebook v. SpaceX

SpaceX

The Dragon capsule, developed and built by Hawthorne-based SpaceX. On Saturday, it will be launched in the first-ever private mission to service the International Space Station.

Just for the sake of argument, let's say Facebook's highly touted IPO was a flop, priced at $38 a share and closing just 23 cents above that figure. There's another California company that's staging a big event this weekend, and it has nothing to do with Wall Street. 

It may wind up being remembered for far longer.

On Saturday, before dawn at the Kennedy Space Flight center in Florida, the L.A.-area's own SpaceX will launch a rocket tipped with a capsule designed to perform an experimental service mission for the International Space Station. This marks the first time a private company will perform a mission traditionally handled by NASA or a state-run space agency. 

From the Christian Science Monitor:

For NASA, the mission represents the first test of its new stance as a customer for launch services to low-Earth orbit. No longer is it the organization sitting in the driver's seat from rocket design through launch to landing. Once the Falcon 9 leaves the pad, control of the mission shifts to SpaceX's command center at its Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters. Only when Dragon closes in on the space station will NASA have thumbs-up or thumbs-down say in the test flight's next steps.

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For Facebook IPO, Twitter was the superstar

DR-Twitter

The DeBord Report Twitter feed. Truth in advertising: I was actually following and tweeting from @mattdebord today about Facebook.

If you wanted to follow the Facebook IPO today and get the kind of crisp insight that helped you understand what was going on and maybe develop a few storylines, you wouldn't have turned to Facebook itself, nor would you have stayed glued to CNBC, which seemed to playing catchup with...

Twitter!

Yes, Twitter, that other kindasorta social network that's really an (increasingly mobile) breaking news and opinion service. 

Twitter is sometimes seen as a sad stepchild to lordly Facebook, but despite the intense levels of engagement that some generate on Facebook, when stuff is happening in the world, Twitter shines.

I went on the "Patt Morrison" show right after the markets closed and basically kept myself informed in the postgame not by studying the subtitled in-studio comments of Erin Burnett on CNN but by keeping one eye on my BlackBerry's Twitter feed, which was churning out real-time 140-word analysis.

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