Gibson goes from Trump, Blackburn darling to Chapter 11

Nashville-based guitar maker Gibson has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company’s products were featured at the White House last year as part of President Donald Trump’s “Made in America Product Showcase.” And in 2011, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was the guest of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) at then-President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Juszkiewicz had blasted the Democratic adminstration for raids on Gibson factories to seize exotic wood imported in violation of environmental laws. Gibson the following year agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty to get federal prosecutors to drop the criminal case.

Here is Gibson’s release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gibson Brands Inc. (“Gibson” or “the Company”), today announced it will be re-focusing the Company on the manufacturing of world-class, musical instruments and professional audio products and the continued development of the Company’s portfolio of iconic, globally-recognized brands including Gibson and Epiphone, by reorganizing around its core businesses.  The Company has reached a “Restructuring Support Agreement” with holders of more than 69.0% in principal amount of its 8.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2018, and its principal shareholders, that clears the pathway for the continued financing and operations of the musical instruments business as well as a change of control in favor of those noteholders.

To implement the agreement, the Company and its U.S. subsidiaries today filed pre-negotiated reorganization cases under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The filings will allow the Company’s Musical Instruments and Professional Audio businesses to continue to design, build, sell, and manufacture legendary Gibson and Epiphone guitars, as well as KRK and Cerwin Vega studio monitors and loud speakers, without interruption. The Restructuring Support Agreement provides funding for the musical instrument and professional audio businesses, supports the Company’s key vendors, shippers and suppliers, and provides for the restructuring of the Company’s balance sheet. Gibson will emerge from Chapter 11 with working capital financing, materially less debt, and a leaner and stronger musical instruments-focused platform that will allow the Company and all of its employees, vendors, customers and other critical stakeholders to succeed.  Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gibson Brands, and David Berryman, Gibson’s President, will each continue with the Company upon emergence from Chapter 11 to facilitate a smooth transition during this change of control transaction and to support the Company in realizing future value from its core business.

The Company’s Gibson Innovations business, which is largely outside of the U.S. and independent of the Musical Instruments business, will be wound down. The wind-down of the Company’s GI Business is not expected to impact the Company’s reorganization around its core Musical Instruments/Pro Audio business.

“Over the past 12 months, we have made substantial strides through an operational restructuring,” said Mr. Juszkiewicz.  “We have sold non-core brands, increased earnings, and reduced working capital demands. The decision to re-focus on our core business, Musical Instruments, combined with the significant support from our noteholders, we believe will assure the company’s long-term stability and financial health.

“Importantly, this process will be virtually invisible to customers, all of whom can continue to rely on Gibson to provide unparalleled products and customer service.”

In conjunction with the restructuring, the Company received commitments for $135 million of debtor-in-possession financing from its existing noteholders. This financing, combined with cash generated from its operations, will provide the Company with the liquidity necessary to maintain its operations in the ordinary course during its reorganization proceedings.

The Company filed a series of motions that, pending Court approval, will allow the Company to operate its business throughout the process in the ordinary course, and to provide support to critical business-partners including vendors, shippers, and suppliers. The first day motions will allow the Company to continue to buy goods, manufacture and distribute its products to its customer base and continue to honor its warranty policies in the ordinary course.

“We are grateful for the continued support from our employees, customers, dealers, partners and suppliers as we move through the restructuring process,” said Mr. Juszkiewicz. “The Gibson name is synonymous with quality and today’s actions will allow future generations to experience the unrivaled sound, design and craftsmanship that our employees put into each Gibson product.”

5 Responses to Gibson goes from Trump, Blackburn darling to Chapter 11

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Be careful Tom, a little bit of you liberal undies are showing. Don’t the Democrats have “darlings” or do they simply have “supporters”?

  • WhitesCreek says:

    Gibson, the corporation, is a bad actor. They got a slap on the wrist from the Obama administration for a clear violation of international law. It’s too bad they can’t just run a good business. They have some wonderful artisans creating some great instruments, but I won’t buy one. Most musicians care about Planet Earth.

  • James White says:

    Marsha Blackburn voted to override the veto of the bill behind Gibson raid. She says one thing and votes another.
    Gibson broke the law and they were raided. That is called law enforcement.

  • Lance Persson says:

    James White and Whitescreek – Why do I think they are same person posting. If you think Gibson got treated fairly that is your business. I sure don’t. I felt Gibson was being targeted just like Trump is being target today.

    • James White says:

      Nope, not the same. I did not say anything about Gibson being treated fair or not. I just stated facts. If you break the law, expect to be caught.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *