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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Guitar Center Emerges from Chapter 11

Just a month after filing to reorganize under Chapter 11, Guitar Center Inc. has emerged after ridding its balance sheet of about $800 million in debt. The Westlake Village musical equipment retailer has entered agreements to receive up to $165 million in new equity financing from stakeholders Ares Management Corp. in Los Angeles, hedge fund Brigade Capital Management and private equity firm Carlyle Group. The three firms now own 100 percent of the common stock in Guitar Center. The company also raised $375 million by entering a new secured asset-based revolving financing facility funded by Wells Fargo and JPMorgan, and another $350 million – up from the expected $335 million – by selling new senior secured notes. That adds up to about $890 million in operating capital.U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Huennekens in the Eastern District of Virginia, who approved the reorganization plan, said Guitar Center’s structure would allow it to repay creditors in full. Guitar Center operates 297 stores under its own banner and more than 200 Music and Arts stores, which specialize in band and orchestral instruments for sale and rent. It also operates a direct marketer of musical instruments called Musician’s Friend.The reorganization was impressively speedy. Guitar Center entered Chapter 11 just a month ago on Nov. 22 citing the Coronavirus pandemic’s chokehold on sales at its stores. Chief Executive Ron Japinga said in a statement, “We are excited to have gained the financial and operational flexibility we need to reinvest in our business and support our long-term sustainable growth, allowing us to deliver on our mission of putting more music into the world.”Milbank LLP in New York served as legal counsel to Guitar Center, while Houlihan Lokey in Los Angeles served as financial advisor and BRG in Emeryville as restructuring advisor.

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