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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

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.

52 mins ago - World

U.S. fears Iran won’t scale back to 2015 nuclear deal

Officials gather in Vienna on Sept. 29 for the first day of renewed nuclear talks with Iran. Photo: EU Vienna Delegation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. officials have extremely low expectations as world powers resume negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear program, believing the Iranians aren't yet ready to negotiate seriously, Axios is told.

Driving the news: Senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community have assessed the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, thinks of his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, as a weak accommodationist who negotiated a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers in 2015.

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