Steinway The Object Of High-Stakes Bidding War

One of the very first Steinway pianos ever made - housed in the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale AZ(Photo: Boyce Lancaster)
One of the very first Steinway pianos ever made - housed in the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale AZ(Photo: Boyce Lancaster)

There is not much more impressive-looking in a living room or on stage than a Steinway grand piano, not to mention what comes out of it in the hands of the right person.  So when Kohlberg & Co. tendered an offer for the 160-year-old-firm, gasps were heard throughout the music world.  Would Steinway be parted out, or maybe just have the cash sucked out of it and be allowed to wither and die?

Kohlberg & Co. has extensive experience acquiring and funding many of the world’s leading consumer brands, but Steinway & Sons is a unique animal.  The leveraged buyout offered by Kohlberg would leave Steinway saddled with debt, it seems, which gives Kohlberg the opportunity to make more money, but would seem to threaten the long term stability of Steinway.

Kohlberg & Co. announced today that it has withdrawn the $438 million offer made on July first of this year, after Paulson & Co. raised the bar by offering $477 million.  That offer was bumped to $512 million, presumably because another offer was made, though no one knows by whom.

Steinway, which became a publicly-trade company after being purchased by Selmer in 1996, will once again be a privately-owned firm after the purchase by Paulson & Co. is completed.  One can hope that Mr. Paulson cares half as much about making great instruments as he does about making money.

Read Steinway Agrees to be Bought by Paulson for $512 million (Bloomberg.com)

Below, discover what it takes to build and maintain the most popular piano in the world.

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