In news sure to shock fans of rock music the world over, Gibson Brand, Inc., maker of some of the most iconic guitars in the world, announced this week that it has filed for bankruptcy. Gibson guitars have been used by some of the most famous musicians in history, including Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. The Nashville, Tennessee based company said that it plans on “re-focusing, reorganizing and restructuring” its operations as it tries to untangle some of the debt it has accumulated over the years. Gibson currently owes 26 companies between $100 million and $500 million in debt and has seen its earnings fall nearly half a billion dollars in three years. A key part of Gibson’s plan to get out of its crippling debt is to re-tool its business plan to focus on its original mission of selling musical instruments and not home audio peripherals. The company acquired several home entertainment brands from Philips in 2014 for $135 million.
Court filings mostly pointed to Gibson’s electronics department as the major reason for its failure to generate revenue. Despite the difficult position the company finds itself in, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz remains confident in the company’s future. In a written statement, Juszkiewicz said, “The Gibson name is synonymous with quality and today’s actions will allow future generations to experience the unrivaled sound, design and craftsmanship that our employees put into each Gibson product.” Juszkiewicz also touted the company’s strides it has made over the last year to improving its business model, saying that Gibson has increased its earnings and lowered its costs. Thanks to an agreement with shareholders and creditors, Gibson will still be allowed to operate during its bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings.