Jan 28, 2020

Guitar-maker Fender gets new majority owner

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

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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In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters gather at Hennepin County Government Plaza on Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Protests in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died shortly after a police encounter in Minneapolis, are ongoing as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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