Steinway: piano maker prepares for IPO

Great tones: Piano manufacturer Steinway is aiming to list on the New York Stock Exchange. But billionaire John Paulson still wants to be in charge. It is not yet known how much the shares will cost.

Piano manufacturer Steinway wants to go public and has filed an application with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. This comes from the filed prospectus. The Financial Times reported first.

The traditional company has been owned by billionaire John Paulson’s investment partnership Paulson & Co. since 2013. Proceeds from the initial public offering are expected to go to selling shareholders, including Paulson himself, who will own more than half of the equity. voting rights after listing. The issue price of the shares is not yet known.

Steinway will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol STWY. And it’s not the first time: In 1996, the piano manufacturer was included in the LVB, an abbreviation for the composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

China as a growth market

Steinway can look back on successful years. The piano maker grew 30% year-over-year in 2021, posting net sales of $538 million. For comparison: In 2012, the last year before Paulson’s investment, net sales were $354 million.

Steinway also opened additional showrooms during the pandemic and now has 33 showrooms in the United States, Europe and Asia. China is particularly important with the largest piano market with 400,000 instruments sold per year. However, Steinway sees more growth opportunities here, because the company still sells only half as many instruments there as in the US. In addition to showrooms, cooperations with celebrities such as star pianist Lang Lang were also concluded.

Another highlight of recent years: the Steinway Spirio, a grand piano that can play programmed pieces on its own. According to the company, this would also target non-musicians as customers. A third of sales come from this division.

Musicians from all over the world play the instruments.

The company is now 169 years old and was founded by German immigrant Henry Engelhard in New York. The greats of classical and pop music play on the company’s grand and upright pianos. The prospectus says that “Lang Lang and Billy Joel and jazz legends like Ahmad Jamal and McCoy Tyner have consistently chosen Steinway as the instrument they wanted to express their art.”

The instruments are made in Astoria and Hamburg. Prices range from US$60,000 to US$340,000 and construction takes around six months.

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