Kohlberg buys Steinway in $438M takeover deal

AP Photo/Adam Nadel
By Chris Engelhardt

Steinway, the famed Long Island City piano maker, is being acquired by a private equity firm for nearly $438 million.

Steinway & Sons, which has been in business for 160 years, will be acquired by Kohlberg & Co., which will take the company private. It will start a tender offer to buy all of Steinway’s outstanding stock for $35 per share, a 15 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $30.43. The board of the Waltham, Mass., company unanimously recommended Monday that shareholders tender their stock.

“Our agreement with Kohlberg represents an exceptional valuation for our shareholders, while also representing an important next step in the growth of Steinway,” said Michael Sweeney, chairman and interim CEO of Steinway. “Kohlberg has long been one of America’s premier private investment firms. We are delighted that they recognize the bright future for Steinway as well as value our great heritage. We look forward to this partnership as we continue our mission of making the world’s finest musical instruments without compromise.”

Steinway was founded in 1853 in a loft on Manhattan’s lower West Side. Its products include Bach Stradivarius trumpets, Selmer Paris saxophones, C.G. Conn French horns, Leblanc clarinets, King trombones, Ludwig snare drums and Steinway & Sons pianos.

Steinway, located at 181 Steinway Place, previously said it was looking into selling the company. The deal includes a 45-day “go-shop” period in which Steinway may seek out alternative bids.

“Kohlberg’s long history of collaboration to grow and expand some of the world’s leading consumer brands makes us an ideal partner for Steinway to accelerate its global expansion, while ensuring the artisanal manufacturing processes that make the company’s products unique are preserved, celebrated and treasured,” Kohlberg partner Christopher Anderson said.

Shares of Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. jumped $4.62, or 15 percent, to $35.05 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday. Shares this year have risen close to 70 percent.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at cengelhardt@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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