Is Gibson, a Totem of Guitar Godhead, Headed for Chapter 11?

Gibson, what happened?

There’s been talk of bankruptcy swirling around Gibson, the venerated Nashville-based guitar company, which takes in more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue but is more than $500 million in debt. Buzzards are circling. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant, is a bondholder. Blackstone is also a major lender.

Gibson’s problems are not hard to diagnose. The company’s longtime chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, wanted to diversify by turning Gibson into what he has called a “music lifestyle company” — basically a consumer electronics business that sells headphones and hi-fis as well as guitars. He made a splashy purchase of the audio and home entertainment division of Netherlands-based Royal Philips in 2014, and then ran headlong into the collapse of the euro.

It was a disaster. Mr. Juszkiewicz, in an interview, didn’t sugarcoat it.

“No, it wasn’t a great decision,” he said. “It didn’t work out very well. I think it was a rational decision, but it turned out to be a very poor decision, and it’s a decision I made. It is what it is.”

Before we go further, we need to step back and take stock. Much is at stake.

Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene,” which is now in the Smithsonian, is a Gibson. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath wields a Gibson SG. Slash, of Guns N’ Roses? The company calls him its Global Brand Ambassador.

Daddy essay

Is Gibson, a Totem of Guitar Godhead, Headed for Chapter 11?

Gibson, what happened?

There’s been talk of bankruptcy swirling around Gibson, the venerated Nashville-based guitar company, which takes in more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue but is more than $500 million in debt. Buzzards are circling. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant, is a bondholder. Blackstone is also a major lender.

Gibson’s problems are not hard to diagnose. The company’s longtime chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, wanted to diversify by turning Gibson into what he has called a “music lifestyle company” — basically a consumer electronics business that sells headphones and hi-fis as well as guitars. He made a splashy purchase of the audio and home entertainment division of Netherlands-based Royal Philips in 2014, and then ran headlong into the collapse of the euro.

It was a disaster. Mr. Juszkiewicz, in an interview, didn’t sugarcoat it.

“No, it wasn’t a great decision,” he said. “It didn’t work out very well. I think it was a rational decision, but it turned out to be a very poor decision, and it’s a decision I made. It is what it is.”

Before we go further, we need to step back and take stock. Much is at stake.

Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene,” which is now in the Smithsonian, is a Gibson. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath wields a Gibson SG. Slash, of Guns N’ Roses? The company calls him its Global Brand Ambassador.

Daddy essay

Is Gibson, a Totem of Guitar Godhead, Headed for Chapter 11?

Gibson, what happened?

There’s been talk of bankruptcy swirling around Gibson, the venerated Nashville-based guitar company, which takes in more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue but is more than $500 million in debt. Buzzards are circling. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant, is a bondholder. Blackstone is also a major lender.

Gibson’s problems are not hard to diagnose. The company’s longtime chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, wanted to diversify by turning Gibson into what he has called a “music lifestyle company” — basically a consumer electronics business that sells headphones and hi-fis as well as guitars. He made a splashy purchase of the audio and home entertainment division of Netherlands-based Royal Philips in 2014, and then ran headlong into the collapse of the euro.

It was a disaster. Mr. Juszkiewicz, in an interview, didn’t sugarcoat it.

“No, it wasn’t a great decision,” he said. “It didn’t work out very well. I think it was a rational decision, but it turned out to be a very poor decision, and it’s a decision I made. It is what it is.”

Before we go further, we need to step back and take stock. Much is at stake.

Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene,” which is now in the Smithsonian, is a Gibson. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath wields a Gibson SG. Slash, of Guns N’ Roses? The company calls him its Global Brand Ambassador.

Daddy essay

Is Gibson, a Totem of Guitar Godhead, Headed for Chapter 11?

Gibson, what happened?There’s been talk of bankruptcy swirling around Gibson, the venerated Nashville-based guitar company, which takes in more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue but is more than $500 million in debt. Buzzards are circling. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant, is a bondholder. Blackstone is also a major lender.Gibson’s problems are not hard to diagnose. The company’s longtime chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, wanted to diversify by turning Gibson into what he has called a “music lifestyle company” — basically a consumer electronics business that sells headphones and hi-fis as well as guitars. He made a splashy purchase

Is Gibson, a Totem of Guitar Godhead, Headed for Chapter 11?

Gibson, what happened? There’s been talk of bankruptcy swirling around Gibson, the venerated Nashville-based guitar company, which takes in more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue but is more than $500 million in debt. Buzzards are circling. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant, is a bondholder. Blackstone is also a major lender. Gibson’s problems […]

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Airbrushing Meets the #MeToo Movement. Guess Who Wins.

The galvanization of women, whether as candidates for political office or as voices speaking up as part of the #metoo movement, has challenged yet another traditionally sacred practice: the airbrushing of beauty images into unachievable perfection. This week, CVS, the American pharmaceutical giant, has pledged to stop “materially altering” all of the imagery associated with […]

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California Today: Some Central Valley Crops Imperiled by Cold

Good morning. (Want to get California Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.) It’s the prettiest time of year in California’s Central Valley. Along country roads, fragrant trees burst with white, pink and red flowers that normally bear a bounty of fruit in the summer. But a cold snap that gripped the state last week may […]

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