Jan 28, 2020

Guitar-maker Fender gets new majority owner

Fender Stratocaster guitars at a Fender manufacturing facility in California. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Servco Pacific acquired a majority stake in Fender Musical Instruments by acquiring shares from co-investment partner TPG Growth.

Why it matters: Jimi Hendrix played a Fender at Woodstock. Bob Dylan played one in his first-ever electric performance. David Gilmour played on one The Wall. Kurt Cobain reveled in smashing them on stage.

  • Servco first invested in Fender in 1985, buying it from CBS, before selling to a private equity firm in 2001 and then re-investing alongside TPG Growth in 2012.

The bottom line: Both Fender and rival Gibson have long histories of private equity ownership, but Fender avoided Gibson's bankruptcy pitfall by focusing more on female buyers (who make up around 50% of its first-time sales) and scaling up an online learning platform (Fender believes that new guitar owners spend four times more on lessons than on equipment).

Go deeper: Your brain on music

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Private equity's slow creep into doctors' offices

Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Private-equity firms accelerated their acquisitions of doctors' practices between 2013 and 2016, according to a new JAMA study.

Why it matters: "Private equity firms expect greater than 20% annual returns, and these financial incentives may conflict with the need for longer-term investments in practice stability, physician recruitment, quality, and safety," the author writes.

Go deeperArrowFeb 19, 2020 - Health

Private equity should breathe a sigh of relief as Sanders surges

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders has opened up leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire, according to most recent polls.

The big picture: Private equity might be hyperventilating into a paper bag, but it should be breathing a sigh of relief. At least temporarily.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

Global mergers are off to a slow start in 2020

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There was only $164 billion of announced global mergers and acquisitions in January, the slowest start to a year since 2013, per Refinitiv.

Why it matters: This comes off a 2019 in which volume was down slightly from 2018, but still the fourth-largest dollar volume in history and sixth-straight year above $3 trillion.