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Gibson Guitar Acquires Deutsche Wurlitzer

NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Gibson Guitar Corp. has acquired Deutsche Wurlitzer from Nelson Group Overseas, part of the Nelson Group of Companies based in Sydney, Australia. The deal brings the Wurlitzer Jukebox and Vending Electronics brand wholly under the Gibson banner and brings to an amicable conclusion several years of litigation between Gibson and the Nelson Group regarding the use of the Wurlitzer brand name. The deal was negotiated and finalized by Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz and Trent Karoll, joint managing director of the Australian-based Nelson Group. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Deutsche Wurlitzer, with a manufacturing plant and headquarters in Hullhorst, Germany, employs over 260 persons worldwide and has branch distribution and sales offices in the United States and UK. Gibson intends to have DW continue at its current locations and anticipates accelerating the growth of this business through broader international distribution and product development.

"We are pleased to have the Wurlitzer brand unified and positioned to move forward, continuing and expanding its successful legacy," said Juszkiewicz. "We look forward to the exciting opportunities that this agreement will bring to the future of Wurlitzer and Gibson."

The musical tradition of the Wurlitzer family can be traced back to the 17th century. The forefathers of Rudolph Wurlitzer, who emigrated to America in 1853 at the age of 24, had already made a name for themselves in Saxony as manufacturers of and dealers in musical instruments. He founded The Wurlitzer Company in 1856, importing musical instruments and opened sales outlets in all big American cities. He started production of pianos in America in 1880. Farny Wurlitzer, youngest son of the firm's founder, bought a patented music box mechanism in the early 1930's, and took on its inventor, Homer Capehart, and a brilliant designer named Paul Fuller. This was the beginning of the 'golden era' for Wurlitzer as it began producing jukeboxes which played the old 78 shellac records. During this time, the jukebox became the "small man's concert hall."

Wurlitzer quickly took over 60 percent of the booming jukebox market. In 1946, it introduced the "Model 1015" and established itself as the most popular jukebox of all time. Today, Wurlitzer has developed new technologies for commercial and residential jukeboxes and is also recognized worldwide as a premier manufacturer of vending machines.

"Since acquiring Deutsche Wurlitzer in 1985," said Karoll, "the Nelson Group of Companies has been proud to share in its rich history of crafting iconic jukeboxes which are known the world over, as well as its innovative and growing line of quality vending machines. We are confident that Gibson Guitar will preserve and enhance the company's established tradition and we wish them every success in the future,"

–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen