Famed Piano Maker Steinway Sold For £321m
Famed piano maker Steinway has been sold for about $499m (£321m) and will become a private company again.
Steinway's pianos have been a status symbol and a must-have luxury in concert halls for more than a century.
But the company, which developed the modern piano, has struggled to maintain its profit margins in recent years following the economic downturn in 2008.
The company has struck a deal with Paulson & Co, the investment firm founded by John Paulson, for $40 per share - a year and a half after it started looking for a buyer.
That topped an earlier $35 per-share offer from Kohlberg & Co.
Industry experts believe that the recovering economy, coupled with increased overseas demand from places like China, made the company more attractive to private investors.
Its shares have recovered with the prospect of a sale, rising 71% this year.
The 160-year-old firm suffered during the recession. Sales fell by half and 30% of union employees were laid off from its New York factory between August 2008 and November 2009.
Although sales picked up in 2010 and 2011, they did not return to their pre-recession levels.
In June, the company finalised the sale of its flagship showroom in Manhattan, the legendary Steinway Hall, where Serge Rachmaninoff and Vladimir Horowitz, among other greats, once took grand pianos for a test ride.
Steinway Chairman and CEO Michael Sweeney said Paulson's offer reflects the attractive value of Steinway's heritage and growth potential, while also providing its shareholders with significantly better returns.
The deal is expected to close in late September.
Steinway, which will become private, valued the sale at about $512m (£329m), which includes a $13.4m break clause.
Paulson will open a tender offer for company shares within the next five days.