Gibson Les Paul Studio
Share issue will net Japanese company £6.6m, lead to joint sales ventures in the USA and beyond

Onkyo has announced an alliance with guitar maker Gibson, aimed at raising more cash for product development and marketing, and strengthening its overseas sales network.

The deal, which involves the issuing of new shares to US-based Gibson Guitar, will raise Onkyo Y824m (around £6.6m).

The company, which makes products from hi-fi and home cinema to computers and speaker drive units, says it will use the funds for research and development into new audio equipment, and to boost its sales promotions. In return for marketing expertise from Gibson, Onkyo will supply the guitar company's new Pro Audio Division technology resources.

As a result of the arrangement, Gibson will own 51% of Onkyo's US sales subsidiary and become Onkyo's second-largest shareholder, while Onkyo will have 1% of the outstanding shares in Gibson, with plans to strengthen the relationship further in time via further cross-shareholding.

The two also plan to work together to develop their sales operations in China and other markets isn Southeast Asia, with a Hong Kong-based joint venture to market co-branded products.

• This isn't Gibson's first involvement in the audio world: the Nashville company, which was founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo as a mandolin manufacturer, explored a merger with Tannoy's Danish parent TC Group back in 2008. Eventually, however, the deal didn't happen.

Gibson recently announced the acquisition of the Stanton Group, comprising KRK Audio, Cerwin Vega! and Stanton DJ. These companies will form the core of its Pro Audio division.

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