S&P Global Ratings, part of top credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, this week lowered their rating of Gibson Brands, Inc. to “CCC-” – down one step from the already low rating of “CCC.” Their outlook on Gibson? “Negative.” A rating of CCC- means that “default is imminent.”
Financials Show Sales & Profits Continue to Slide
Gibson Brands CEO Henry Juszkiewicz continues to profess confidence that the company will be able to successfully refinance their over $500 million debt before a mid-year maturation comes due. Telling the Nashville Post that the company is going through a little “spring cleaning,” Juszkiewicz says the company already dropped their Cakewalk music software group, and other brands in their portfolio are next to go. But a financial report to bondholders shows continued deterioration of both sales and profits, suggesting that simply pruning a few brands from the portfolio may not be enough to attract new investors or lenders.
See more on the dire situation at Gibson Brands… Continue reading
James Loudspeaker, the Napa, CA-based manufacturer of innovative, high-performance speaker solutions, announced this week that it is adding John Bishop in a new role with the company – Director of Architectural Audio Services. Bishop, a fairly well-known sales representative in New England, is being brought on in a contract basis and will continue with his rep firm in addition to this new role.
See more on Bishop’s appointment by James Loudspeaker… Continue reading
We learned today from multiple media reports out of Japan that Sony Corp. is working on building a joint venture with at least six taxi operators in Japan this Spring. The goal comes in the wake of Uber Technologies Inc. saying that it seeks to improve its success in Japan through a partnership with another taxi company there.
Sony, jumping into the ride-hailing business?… Continue reading
Company Rehires CFO With Debt Deadline Fast Approaching
As the music world media continues to trumpet the news of the potential impending collapse of Gibson Brands, noting large outstanding debts and the exit of the company’s CFO, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz launches a PR blitz to try and stem the collapse of the company’s reputation. It is a critical time for Juszkiewicz, as he is engaged in trying to refinance the company whose huge debt portfolio of over $500 million comes due in just a few short months. To try and stem the tide, Gibson released a couple of press releases last week claiming, in essence and improbably, that things are just fine.
Oh and Gibson Brands hired a CFO…or rather, re-hired a former CFO… Continue reading
Housing starts, the measure of new home construction that many in the custom integration industry feel is a leading indicator for the sale of home-making products, such as residential technology systems, jumped nearly 10% in the month of January. This may be yet another indicator of an overall improving economy, although the monthly numbers tend to vacillate up and down on alternating months. Still, the long term trend appears to remain positive.
See more on this latest report on a key economic and industry indicator… Continue reading
Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), the joint venture between CEDIA and AVIXA (formerly InfoComm) announced this week that the show held earlier this month set several records, including the number of exhibitors, number of new exhibitors, the number of attendees and the number of first time attendees. While CEDIA struggles to pull in 20,000 attendees, ISE tops 80,000 visitors.
With the growth of ISE, should you consider attending? Continue reading
Strata-gee *EXCLUSIVE* Interview with Tom Thiel
Although Strata-gee has loosely followed Thiel Audio for many years, since 2012, when the company was sold by co-founder Kathy Gornik to a group of Tennessee private equity investors, our coverage intensified. Part of the motivation for devoting more coverage to this stage of Thiel, was a growing interest in the apparent deteriorating state of specialty A/V – but it was also fueled by a wacky, reality-show like, “You’re Fired!” atmosphere as principal owner David B. Griffin routinely dismissed newly constituted management teams. With five different CEOs over a five-year period, some with tenures measured in months, the company’s business suffered from inconsistent fits-and-starts as each team pursued a new direction.
This state of constant turmoil at Thiel caused extreme consternation among – first the Thiel dealer base, and when that disappeared – Thiel end-users, many of whom were huge fans of Jim Thiel. A host of audio forums and bulletin boards had ongoing, passionate postings bemoaning the end of an era: the end of the Kathy Gornik era…and of course, the end of the Jim Thiel era.
Kind of like in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, when Obi-wan says: “That boy is our last hope.” Yoda replies: “No, there is another…” Continue reading
Thiel Owners Celebrate the News of the Rebirth of Thiel Service
The rumors have been swirling around various audio blogs and forums for a couple of weeks now and Strata-gee has confirmed that the service department of Thiel Audio, the only part of the Nashville-based company that remains in Lexington, KY, has been split off from the company and purchased by long time head of service, Rob Gillum. The development is incredibly good news for Thiel owners everywhere, many of whom were crushed to hear the brand was closing down.
Rob Gillum talks to Strata-gee… Continue reading
Debt Holders Increasingly Anticipate Bankruptcy Filing
Gibson Brands announced at the end of last week that it had successfully completed a $16.6 million coupon payment to holders of its $375 million 8.875% senior secured notes due 2018. This news, a seemingly positive development for the company, really only means that they get to march forward towards their mid-year debt maturities – the big event. But, for the moment at least, they are stayin’ alive.