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Famed guitar maker Fender changes its tune: no IPO

July 19, 2012|By David Colker
  • Singer and songwriter Eric Clapton played this Fender Stratocaster on several albums, including "Slowhand" and "Just One Night."
Singer and songwriter Eric Clapton played this Fender Stratocaster on… (Sinead Lynch / AFP/Getty…)

Fender Musical Instruments Corp., whose electric guitars helped define rock ā€˜nā€™ roll, has called off its planned initial public offering of stock.

The company, which is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., but makes some of its prized custom guitars at its manufacturing facility in Corona, blamed the scrubbed IPO on the economy here and abroad.

“Current market conditions and concerns about economic conditions in Europe do not support completing an initial public offering at what we believe to be an appropriate valuation at this time,” Chief Executive Larry Thomas said in a statement Thursday.

According to a filing this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fender planned to have a total of about 26.4 million shares outstanding after going public, which would have valued the company at around $395 million.

The company – whose guitars have been played by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and other superstars of rock, pop and country – traces its history to the 1940s when Southern California inventor Leo Fender came up with a solid-body electric guitar design that could be mass produced.

His Telecaster, Stratocaster and Precision Bass guitars were pivotal to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

Fender sold his company in 1965, but the firm went on to produce instruments that played a role in some of rock’s iconic performances, such as Hendrix’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” played on a Stratocaster at Woodstock.

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