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Hollywood Rock Walk at the Guitar Center on the Sunset Strip. Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Guitar Center, a 61 year-old musical instrument retailer owned by Ares Management, plans to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: This is one of the last chapters of private equity's so-called Golden Age, during which well-known retailers were taken private with huge new debt obligations but without meaningful e-commerce strategies.

  • Bain Capital bought Guitar Center for $2.1 billion in 2007, while Ares acquired control in 2014 via a debt-for-equity swap. It currently has around $1.3 billion in debt and missed an interest payment last month.

The bottom line: "Although many people have turned to hobbies like playing music while homebound, the biggest winners have been those with the strongest e-commerce infrastructure. In musical instruments, the online retailer Sweetwater was already threatening Guitar Center’s brick-and-mortar business," per the Times.

Go deeper

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

54 mins ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

57 mins ago - Health

WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020

A Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgiam on Dec. 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimate for how many coronavirus vaccines will be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, instead of 100 million, per WSJ.

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