Fender Ready To Rock Market With IPO

  @http://www.twitter.rs/JoeO_IBT on March 08 2012 2:38 PM
Fender Musical Instruments Files for $200 Million IPO
Fender Musical Instruments filed paperwork for a $200 million IPO but withdrew it in 2012. REUTERS

Iconic guitar maker Fender Musical Instruments Corp. filed on Thursday to raise up to $200 million through an initial public offering, using about half the proceeds to pay off debt.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company plans to use about $100 million of the proceeds to pay down debts, a portion of which are owed to some of the banks underwriting the offering. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules require the IPO have a qualified independent underwriter, a role filled by William Blair & Co.

Baird Capital Partners, J.P. Morgan, Stifel Nicolaus Weisel and Wells Fargo Securities will underwrite the offering, the company said.

The number of shares offered, and the price of the offering has not been determined, Fender said. It will apply to list on Nasdaq with the ticker symbol FNDR.

The company had net sales of $700.6 million in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

The company was founded by Leo Fender in 1946, who ultimately sold to CBS. The broadcaster sold it two decades later to William Schultz and William Mendello. Private equity firm Weston Presidio also owns a 43 percent stake in the company, according to regulatory filings.

Fender is using a window of opportunity here to get into portfolios of funds that look for strong brands, Josef Schuster, founder of Chicago-based IPO investment firm IPOX Schuster, told Reuters.

It is a leader in its field. I think there will be demand for its stock.

The company was the signature guitar-maker for some of the most iconic rock and blues players, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix.

We believe that the Fender brand in particular is closely associated with the birth of rock 'n' roll and has a strong legacy in music and in popular culture, the company said its regulatory filing. We believe our guitars and guitar amplifiers revolutionized the way music is written, played and heard.

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