Iconic guitar company Gibson could be facing bankruptcy

Iconic guitar brand Gibson whose Les Paul and SG guitars have graced rock stages around the world could be facing bankruptcy, it has emerged.

Founded in 1902 in Michigan, the company has seen stars including Slash, Bob Marley and Santana strumming some of their solid body electric guitars.

The company's chief financial officer, Bill Lawrence, left after less than a year in the job, and just six months before $375m (£267m) of senior secured notes are due to mature, according to the Nashville Post.

The paper also says that if the notes are not refinanced by 23 July, a further $145m (£103m) in bank loans will immediately become due.

Gibson has hired investment bank Jefferies to help them with their financial situation.

CEO Henry Juszkiewicz now faces a limited amount of time to decide whether to exchange the debt, attempt to pay it off using his equity or try to declare the company bankrupt.

Mr Juszkiewicz told Nashville Business Journal the company was "monetizing assets like stock holdings, real property and business segments… to reduce debt and generate funds to contribute to business segments that are thriving".

Gibson makes annual sales of more than $1bn (£713m), and has three US production facilities.

The Nashville headquarters produce solid-body electric guitars; the Memphis plant produces semi-hollow electric guitars - including the Gibson ES line - and a factory in Bozeman, Montana, makes acoustic guitars.

Gibson guitars range from just under $500 (£356) for a standard electric guitar, up to top of the range custom-made models for around $23,500 (£16,747).

The Who's Pete Townsend famously smashed his Les Paul Gold Top Deluxe on stage in 1976, and the shattered remains can be viewed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in central London.

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