Fender Files To Go Public
Fender Musical Instruments Corp filed with U.S. regulators on Thursday to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering. The company, which had net sales of $700.6 million in the fiscal year ended January 31, said it plans to apply to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “FNDR.”
Formed in the 1940s by Leo Fender, Fender was the first to mass-produce solid-body Spanish-style electric guitars, including the iconic Stratocaster. 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 Fender in 1984. Schultz and his family trust still own about 6 percent of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Fender, according to the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Private equity firm Weston Presidio owns a 43 percent stake.
J.P. 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 $100 million of the proceeds to pay off debt.
The number of shares to be offered — a portion of which will be sold by some stockholders — and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined, Fender said.