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Gibson-Rescuer KKR Seeks Payout as Demand for Guitars on Rise

  • Gibson funding dividend payments after going bankrupt in 2018
  • Sales jumped as homebound musicians sought iconic instruments

Photographer: Jeff Adkins/Bloomberg

A pandemic-fueled revival in sales of Gibson guitars may help produce a windfall for KKR & Co., controlling owner of the iconic brand favored by music legends from Eric Clapton to Joan Jett.

Gibson Brands Inc. is marketing a $250 million first-lien term loan that will be used to fund dividend payments and add cash to its balance sheet, according to people familiar with the matter. KKR took control of the guitar maker during its 2018 bankruptcy process as one of Gibson’s biggest lenders, holding $198 million of the company’s notes at the time.