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Steinway accepts $438M buyout from Kohlberg

A worker strings the soundboard of a Concert

A worker strings the soundboard of a Concert Grand Model D Piano at the Steinway & Sons factory in Long Island City. Steinway says it is being taken private in a $438-million deal with private equity group Kohlberg & Co. (June 26, 2005) Credit: Getty Images

Steinway Musical Instruments, which has been in business for 160 years, said Monday it has agreed to be bought by private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. for about $438 million.

Steinway pianos have been a status symbol and a must-have luxury in concert halls for more than a century, but the storied company suffered during the recession. While it has recovered, its shares have not returned to their peak, reached just six months before the recession began.

Last week the company closed on the sale of Steinway Hall just down the street from Carnegie Hall, its flagship showroom in Manhattan.

With the housing crisis fading and the U.S. economy picking up steam, Kohlberg is betting on a bright future for Steinway at home and abroad, says Burt Flickinger III, president of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.

A typical Steinway grand piano costs around $50,000, but can run much higher.

Kohlberg, which will take the company private, is offering to buy all of Steinway's outstanding stock for $35 per share, a 15 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $30.43. Its shares Monday rose $4.85 to close at $35.28.

The board of the Waltham, Mass.-based, company unanimously recommended that shareholders tender their stock.

Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a loft on Manhattan's Lower West Side. Steinway was a master cabinetmaker who built his first piano in the kitchen of his home in Seesen, Germany, according to the company website. -- AP

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