Finance

Guitarguitar becomes employee-owned to let owners plan their exit



Guitarguitar has become one of the first musical instrument retailers in the UK to move to employee ownership.

The Glasgow-headquartered business has restructured its business, putting 60% of shares into an employee ownership trust, giving its staff of 160 majority ownership.

Founders Kip McBay and Graham Bell decided to make the switch to employee ownership to let them plan their exits from the company without threatening the legacy of the brand.

Bell said: “Guitarguitar’s success is a result of the commitment and hard work of our staff and we have now decided to take the next step and give them their own piece of the company.

“We’ve spent the last 20 years building a brand that we are wholeheartedly passionate about – we wanted to ensure the business means something to future owners when our time comes to take a step back.”

The online and in-store guitar firm started off in Edinburgh in 2004 and has since expanded to six retail locations across the UK. The company now turns over around £45m a year.

Guitarguitar sells more than 50,000 guitars a year, from entry level instruments to collector’s pieces from Fender, Gibson, Taylor and Martin.

EY advised on the transaction, with Douglas Roberts of Lindsays providing legal advice, on top of advice from employee ownership experts.

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