Right note: Bain buys Guitar Center for $2.1 billion

The Patriot Ledger

BOSTON - Guitar Center Inc., the largest U.S. musical instrument retailer, said its board had accepted a $1.9 billion cash buyout offer from a Boston private equity firm.

Under the agreement, the buyers will also assume about $200 million in debt, pushing the total transaction value to $2.1 billion.

The deal with affiliates of Bain Capital came amid speculation that a buyout was in the works. Guitar Center had hired investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co. to auction the company.

Bain Capital offered to pay $63 per share, or 26 percent more than Guitar Center’s closing price Tuesday.

The deal, which requires approval by Guitar Center shareholders, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Marty Albertson, Guitar Center’s chief executive, said in a statement that the deal ‘‘is a strong validation of the company’s accomplishments over the years as well as our future growth prospects.’’

Guitar Center began in 1959 when former car salesman Wayne Mitchell purchased a small appliance and home organ store in Hollywood, Calif., about five miles away from its current headquarters in Westlake Village.

In 1964, Mitchell converted a movie theater next door to his Hollywood shop, and opened the first Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard.

The company, which now has more than 210 stores, went public in 1997.

The stock has more than tripled since its initial share sale, and revenue last year was $2 billion, compared with $296.7 million in 1997.

Earlier this year, Guitar Center bought musical instrument retailer Woodwind & Brasswind for about $30 million in a bankruptcy auction.

In Massachusetts, Guitar Center has stores in Boston, Danvers, Millbury, Natick and North Attleboro.