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Woodwind & Brasswind Bankrupt; Guitar Center Scoops Up Assets

Just before midnight last night, The Woodwind & The Brasswind, one of the giants of musical products retailing, filed for bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court in South Bend, Ind.

And by noon today, Guitar Center announced that it had signed an asset agreement to acquire substantially all of the company's assets under section 363 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Under the terms of the agreement, Guitar Center will acquire The Woodwind & The Brasswind's inventory of band and orchestra and combo instruments, accounts receivable, trade names and certain other intangible assets, according to a press release issued by Guitar Center.

"The acquisition of assets of The Woodwind & The Brasswind, including the Woodwind and Brasswind and Music123 websites, will enable us to further expand the already strong combo instrument business at Musician's Friend as well as build out our direct response band and orchestra business," said Marty Albertson, chairman and CEO of Guitar Center via the release.

The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including bankruptcy court approval, and is also subject to overbid at a bankruptcy auction expected to be held in January 2007.

The asset acquisition agreement was entered into by the Musician's Friend subsidiary of Guitar Center.

In 1978, Dennis Bamber, founder and owner of The Woodwind and The Brasswind, opened a teaching studio in the back of a barbershop. When he noticed that students and teachers couldn't readily find music supplies, he started a small newsletter to sell mouthpieces and accessories. That newsletter launched The Woodwind & The Brasswind, a company that came to be known as one of the largest and most aggressive catalog and online retailers in the industry.