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Gibson guitars reportedly facing bankruptcy

Guns N' Roses
Slash playing a Gibson Les Paul at Coachella 2016 (more by Erik Voake)

One of the most iconic guitar companies in history, Gibson, is reportedly facing bankruptcy. The Nashville Post reports:

CFO Bill Lawrence recently left the company after less than a year on the job and just six months before $375 million of senior secured notes will mature. On top of that, another $145 million in bank loans will come due immediately if those notes, issued in 2013, are not refinanced by July 23.

Less than six months out from those crucial deadlines, the prospects for an orderly refinancing — Gibson has hired investment bank Jefferies to help with that — look slim, observers say. And the alternative scenarios look likely to sideline longtime owner and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.

“At the end of the day, someone will take control of this company — be it the debtors or the bondholders,” Debtwire reporter Reshmi Basu told the Post this week. “This has been a long time coming.”

[…] Kevin Cassidy, a senior credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service, says Juszkiewicz essentially has just three options: He and his team could negotiate an exchange of their debt coming due for new notes, which may not be feasible at a reasonable price. He also could be persuaded — or forced — to give up some of his equity in exchange for the debt payments. Or he may end up taking one of the most globally recognized brands that calls Nashville home to bankruptcy court.

“This year is critical and they are running out of time — rapidly,” said Cassidy, who last summer downgraded Gibson’s debt rating. “And if this ends in bankruptcy, he will give up the entire company.”

Gibson is famous for such electric guitars as the Les Paul, the SG, the Flying V, the Explorer, the ES series, and more. Watch a documentary on the company, featuring appearances from such Gibson players as B.B. King, Tony Iommi, Billy Corgan, Tom Petty, Robby Krieger, Slash, Bob Weir, and more, below.

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