The Gibson company's public struggle to find a way forward through potentially catastrophic financial woes could reach a definitive turning point over the next few months.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the company will need to pay down as much as $560 million in debt by summer, further undermining embattled Chief Executive Henry Juszkiewicz's attempts to stave off efforts to end his leadership. As the Times notes, Juszkiewicz bet heavily on moving Gibson into other sectors with a series of major investments that didn't pan out, and although he signaled a willingness to change direction, it may not be enough.

"My dream was to be the Nike of music lifestyle," Juszkiewicz's quoted as saying. "At this point, I have to cut back on that ambition, frankly."

As previously reported, Gibson execs have been working against the clock to avert outright ruin for the venerable guitar manufacturer, recently laying off workers and attempting to work out favorable terms with creditors who've been calling for a change in leadership at the company. It remains to be seen how those efforts will pan out, but the staggering amount of debt that's set to mature makes it clear that the odds are stacked against them, despite Juszkiewicz's assurances that he can decrease Gibson's financial burdens while blending its consumer electronics acquisitions more seamlessly into the business.

"Their hope is that the capital structure is refinanceable if they can reduce leverage," observed Moody's Investors Service senior analyst Kevin Cassidy. "We think the likelihood of a default or some type of financial restructuring is pretty high."



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