In a recent interview published on peHUB.com it was reported that starting in November, for the first time, customers will be able to order and buy Fender guitars directly from the company’s website. This would include “custom configurable” guitars, with product shipped directly to the consumer in two to three months.
It remains unclear if this selling direct move would be reserved only for custom models or would also include standard Fender products.
William McGlashan, the founder and managing partner of TPG Growth, which took control of FMIC earlier this year, told peHUB, “We want to build the Fender brand and business to match its potential. The company is known for its exceptional instruments and equipment, but we have high aspirations for what the Fender brand can be, engaging music fans on many more levels and points of contact.” Currently when visitors go to fender.com and want to buy an instrument, they are referred to online and local dealers.
Fender’s official comment as of late Thursday, October 17, was: “We don't have anything to share at this time and will be happy to provide an update when we know more."
TPG partnered with Honolulu-based Servco Pacific, a company primarily invested in the automotive and insurance industries. When Fender unsuccessfully tried to go public last year, Servco, lead by chairman and CEO Mark Fukunaga, bought out San Francisco-based private equity firm Weston Presidio’s 43 percent of the company. (Weston Presidio paid $57.8 million for its stake in Fender in 2001. Interestingly, Guitar Center, a large Fender vendor, is in their portfolio of investments.)
Servco picked TPG to partner with because “of its experience in growing consumer brands like J. Crew,” the article reported. TPG and Servco together now own the majority of Fender, and pumped more equity into the company in the first quarter. (McGlashan and Fukunaga both declined to put a dollar amount on that move.)
The article’s reporter, Luisa Beltran, told MMR that TPG reached out to peHUB to get the word out about the strategy change – a change that in the world of private equity likely seems small if not insignificant, but would certainly be a game changer in the MI industry.
peHUB is written by Thomas Reuters Deals Group journalists, and covers the world of venture capitalists and global private equity community. (Source: http://www.pehub.com/2013/09/30/with-control-tpg-growth-servco-make-fender-consumer-friendly/)
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