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Posted: February 15, 2018

Gibson guitar company facing imminent bankruptcy

The maker of the Les Paul, Firebird, Flying V and dozens of famous electric and acoustic guitars is facing an uncertain future according to reports from the Nashville Post, and several music and financial publications.

By B.J. Bethel

Gibson guitar company, which has been a staple brand among various musical instruments since 1902, is facing bankruptcy.

According to the Nashville Post, Gibson’s chief financial officer, Bill Lawrence, left after six months on the job and just as $375 million in senior secured notes mature and another $145 million in bank loans become due if they aren’t refinanced by July. The departure of Lawrence was seen as abrupt and a statement about the desperate situation Gibson is in currently.

The company, which generates $1 billion a year in revenues, recently moved out of its Nashville warehouse, where it had operated since the mid 1980s. 

RELATED: Gibson pushes back against bankruptcy talk, hires new CFO

The company owner since then, Henry Juskiewicz, is trying to re-order the company according to the Post but is facing a battle with creditors over bad business decisions. The company recently sold Baldwin piano, and is hoping to see a boost in cash from the various electronics companies it had purchased the last several years.

Gibson began in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Mich., producing various instruments, including acoustic guitars and the Les Paul, designed by noted guitarist Les Paul, which became one of the most iconic instruments ever made. The Gibson Les Paul began production in 1952, and became a staple of the rock and roll movement since. The company since developed other iconic guitars such as the SG, Firebird, the Flying V and he ES-335 among others. 

Various reports, citing experts in the music and financial business, said Gibson would likely survive a bankruptcy due to its name value and tradition, as well as the a strong core business, according to Moody’s, who also cited the company’s balance sheets and organization issues as reasons to downgrade the company. 

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