Fender to acquire music firm Kaman

Times Staff Writer

Fender Musical Instruments Corp., the world's leading guitar manufacturer, said Monday that it would pay about $117 million to acquire Kaman Music Corp., maker of Ovation guitars and other instruments.

Fender, founded in Fullerton in 1946 and now based in Scottsdale, Ariz., makes stringed instruments such as electric and acoustic guitars and basses, amplifiers and music-related accessories. The company's manufacturing headquarters is in Corona.

"We are delighted to welcome the Kaman Music Corp. into the Fender Family," said Bill Mendello, Fender's chairman and chief executive. "KMC is one of the most respected companies in the musical instrument industry. We have very similar cultures that have been developed over many years."

Bloomfield, Conn.-based Kaman, an independent distributor of musical instruments and accessories, offers more than 20,000 products for amateurs and professionals.

The company is a subsidiary of Kaman Corp., which is selling the music division to focus on aerospace and industrial markets.

"There is great synergy between Kaman Music and Fender, both of which are deeply rooted in the long history and colorful culture of popular music," said Edward Miller, president of Kaman Music, who will continue to run the company. "The acquisition of Kaman Music by Fender forms the most dynamic partnership in the music industry. I believe that our collective customers will benefit greatly from this combination."

Fender is known for its electric guitars, which are played by such artists as Eric Clapton and John Mayer.

Ovation guitars, designed by aerospace engineer Charlie Kaman in the 1960s, feature a rounded back made of high-tech composite materials on acoustic models, rather than the traditional flat wooden back.

Kaman's shares closed at $37.14, up 36 cents. Fender is privately held.

The deal is expected to close by year-end.



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