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Queens Chronicle

Steinway sold to private equity co.

Astoria biz assumes no big changes

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:03 am, Thu Jul 18, 2013.

Steinway Musical Instruments strikes a chord with private equity company Kohlberg & Co.

The parent company of Astoria’s historical piano factory announced on July 1 it is being bought out by a private equity company for $438 million.

But what does the deal mean for the company here in Queens?

“I wouldn’t be able to speculate on Kohlberg’s plans assuming the sale goes through; however, we’ve been through this before [being sold from one owner to another] and generally speaking, these companies do not interfere with what happens on the factory level,” Steinway spokesman Anthony Gilroy said in an email. “So I would expect no dramatic changes in the near future for the Astoria factory or the Hamburg, Germany factory.”

Selmer Industries bought Steinway in 1995 and turned the company, which has long ties to the neighborhood, public.

In 1999 the company bought its building on Steinway Place after being a longtime tenant.

The offer parses out to $35 per share of its stock (known as LVB, a homage to Ludwig Van Beethoven) or about a 33 percent premium over its average closing price in the last 90 days.

Kohlberg issued a statement on how it plans to “accelerate its global expansion” for the pianos that make up 50 percent of the company’s profits and go for between $56,000 and $218,000.

The piano company, based in Waltham, Mass., has 45 days to look for a better offer.

“We are currently profitable, so this company is looking to add us as a profitable asset,” Gilroy said.

Another tie to Astoria is the Steinway mansion. In 1870 the company’s first president, one of founder Henry Engelhard Steinway’s five sons, William, bought a 27-room mansion on 41st Street. After his death, the house eventually was sold to the Halberian family who is trying to sell it for $1.9 million or $3.2 million for the house and its seven plots of land. Friends of Steinway Mansion hopes to raise the money to turn the mansion into a museum.

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