Hollywood, CA (November 1, 2021)— Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has announced it will acquire Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based PreSonus Audio Electronics. The move brings together one of the most iconic musical instrument brands in the world with the pro-audio manufacturer behind the popular Studio One DAW and a wide range of pro and pro-sumer audio equipment.
While the two companies released a statement that characterized the deal as a merger, few hard details were offered. A quote from Jim Odom, founder/CSO of PreSonus, implied that PreSonus would remain as a separate brand that would continue to cater to its established customer base, well-known for its vocal presence online: “After more than 25 years, PreSonus feels it has found the right partner to support us as we continue our growth. We look forward to showing our current and future music community what this opportunity means for them.”
The deal comes as Fender is flush with cash due to a pandemic-powered resurgence in learning musical instruments; a Fender/YouGov survey estimated that 16 million consumers in the U.S. took up guitar in the last two years, with 77% citing free time due to the pandemic as a major factor in their decision. The PreSonus acquisition, then, could pave the way for alternate ways to capitalize on those new customers, while also fortifying their commitment to playing music through home recording, live performance tools and more.
While Fender has long had a performer-centric presence in the pro-audio world, producing guitar amps and portable PA systems, the PreSonus deal instantly gives the company a broader footprint in the field with credibility to match. PreSonus has a long track record in hardware—producing numerous mixers, controllers, interfaces, studio and live-sound loudspeakers, and mics among other products—as well as software, producing Studio One, sample libraries, virtual instruments and more.
2020 was Fender’s biggest year ever, with the company growing 35%; in early October, 2021, Andy Mooney, CEO of Fender, told Yahoo Finance Live that the company was on track to again grow by 35% across 2021, though he bemoaned supply chain bottlenecks, noting that growth could have hit 50% if not for “challenges in terms of chip shortages for amplifiers and raw material … And most of all, recently, transportation challenges.” Despite curtailed growth, it surely remains good news for Hawaii-based Servco Pacific, which became Fender’s majority owner in January, 2020.
In the acquisition statement, Mooney noted the cultural fit between PreSonus and Fender, stating, “Our teams share the same passion for music, the same commitment to innovation and the same desire to inspire and equip current and future generations of artists.”
Whether PreSonus will remain in Baton Rouge is unknown, although Kevin Couhig, chairman of PreSonus, noted in the statement, “I would like to extend our utmost gratitude to our loyal Baton Rouge and Louisiana community that have supported PreSonus for the last two decades. It has been wonderful being a part of this incredible journey with PreSonus. I’m excited to see what the future holds going forward.”