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Gibson Guitar Corporation announced today that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase GE Capital's rights under a contract to acquire the assets of the Baldwin Piano & Organ Company. GE Capital, the secured lender for Baldwin, signed a contract to acquire the Baldwin assets in a credit auction on October 15, after the piano maker filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May of this year. GE Capital is Baldwin's largest secured creditor.

"Our acquisition of Baldwin will represent a new exciting chapter in two century-old musical instrument institutions, Gibson and Baldwin," said Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. "Both Baldwin and Gibson reflect a dedication to American craftsmanship and product excellence and innovation. We expect Baldwin to achieve new levels of growth and financial success for its employees, dealers and consumers as we make music in the new century."

Gibson, a leader in the manufacture of fretted musical instruments since 1894, has enjoyed phenomenal growth under the current management that purchased the company in 1986. Gibson's acquisition of Baldwin will keep the historic American piano company under U.S. ownership and brings two of the most respected and recognizable names in the musical instrument industry together into the extensive family of Gibson Musical Instruments that includes Epiphone, Kramer, Slingerland drums, Oberheim keyboards and Maestro effects among others. The acoustic piano market is second only to the guitar market in terms of global musical instrument revenues.

Music teacher and entrepreneur Dwight Hamilton Baldwin founded Baldwin, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1862. Since then Baldwin products have been the instrument-of-choice for professional pianists from Dave Brubeck to Bruce Hornsby as well as internationally renowned orchestras and concert venues throughout the world. Baldwin is America's largest acoustic piano manufacturer and sells more pianos in the U.S. than any other manufacturer.

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