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Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today the creation of a new manufacturing subsidiary, to be called Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc. Consequently, Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc. has signed a deal to purchase specific assets of the Jackson/Charvel Guitar Company, which was a division of Akai Musical Instruments Corporation (AMIC). The acquisition, effective as of October 25, 2002, will include all existing inventory of products and trademarks relating to Jackson and Charvel.

With the Fender and Squier brand names, FMIC has continually sought to develop diverse and innovative products. With the addition of Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc. into the Fender fold, the company has the opportunity to produce and distribute new products, and to welcome a core consumer base geared more towards heavy metal and hard rock styles.

Says Bill Schultz, Chairman and CEO of FMIC, "Throughout our history, we've embraced musicians of all styles by offering products to suit their needs. Jackson and Charvel products appeal to musicians that are not traditional 'Fender' players, but who want a quality instrument made by people who know what their needs are. We are musicians, we know guitars, and we know how to get them to the guitarists of the world."

"Both the Jackson and Charvel product lines consist of quality instruments with strong brand recognition and a rightful place in musical instrument history," adds Schultz. "Many innovative product features and cutting edge artists are associated with these fine instruments, and with the creation of Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc., we are committed to exceeding their expectations in the areas of quality, service and market support."

Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc. will immediately begin to produce Jackson and Charvel products utilizing its existing production facility in Ontario, California for all American-made Jackson and Charvel guitars, as well as its custom orders. Additionally, Jackson/Charvel Manufacturing, Inc. will continue to produce guitars with its overseas manufacturing partners.

FMIC will then sell and distribute the products through a new inside telesales and field sales department under the direction of Jeff Cary, Vice President of Specialty Sales, and will utilize its existing network of global distributors and direct sales offices. AMIC product manager, Donnie Wade, will join Fender and will head up the marketing efforts.

"This is great news for fans of Jackson and Charvel," says Marketing Manager, Donnie Wade. "The guitars will remain with one of the most prestigious American manufacturers ever, one that is a progressive company and that will maintain the integrity that Jackson and Charvel has built throughout its years."

Jackson and Charvel's existing retailers, which number around 400 in the United States, will still be able to carry the products and will be contacted directly by FMIC to ensure a trouble-free change over.

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