Guitarguitar becomes employee property to allow owners to plan their release


Guitarguitar has become one of the first musical instrument retailers in the UK to go employee-owned.

The Glasgow-headquartered company has restructured its business, placing 60% of the shares in an employee shareholding trust, giving its staff a majority stake of 160 people.

Founders Kip McBay and Graham Bell decided to make the move to employee ownership to allow them to plan their exit from the company without threatening the brand’s legacy.

Bell said: “Guitarguitar’s success is the 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 business.

“We’ve spent the past 20 years building a brand we’re wholeheartedly passionate about – we wanted to make sure the business means something to future owners when it comes time to step back.”

The online and in-store guitar business started in Edinburgh in 2004 and has since expanded to six retail outlets across the UK. The company now generates a turnover of around £45 million a year.

Guitarguitar sells over 50,000 guitars a year, from entry-level instruments to collector’s items from Fender, Gibson, Taylor and Martin.

EY advised on the transaction, with Douglas Roberts of Lindsays providing legal advice, in addition to advice from expert employee share ownership.

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