Guitar legend Fender files for US flotation

FENDER Musical Instruments, whose guitars have been used by music legends Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, filed with regulators yesterday to raise up to $200m (£126.3m) in an initial public offering (IPO).

Formed in the 1940s by Leo Fender, Fender was the first to mass-produce solid-body Spanish-style electric guitars. It was sold to television network CBS in 1965.

When CBS started selling off its non-media businesses, then-Fender chief executive William Schultz teamed up with some of the company’s international distributors and bought out the company in 1984.

Schultz and his family trust still own about six per cent of Fender, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Private equity firm Weston Presidio owns a 43 per cent stake.

JP Morgan, Baird, Stifel Nicolaus Weisel and Wells Fargo Securities would be underwriting the offering, Fender said in the filing. The company plans to use about $100m of the proceeds to pay off debt. The company, which had net sales of $700.6m in the fiscal year ended 31 January, said it plans to apply for a listing on Nasdaq under the symbol FNDR.