Steinway: piano maker prepares for IPO

Big Sounds: Piano maker Steinway is aiming for a listing 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 maker Steinway wants to go public and has submitted an application to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. This appears from the filed prospectus. The Financial Times reported first.

The traditional company has been owned by billionaire John Paulson’s investment firm Paulson & Co. since 2013. Proceeds from the IPO are expected to go to selling shareholders, including Paulson himself, who will own more than half of the voting rights after registration. 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 listed under LVB – an abbreviation of composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

China as a growth market

Steinway can look back on years of success. The piano maker grew 30% year-over-year in 2021 and posted 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 further growth opportunities there, as the company still sells only half of the instruments there than in the United States. In addition to showrooms, cooperations with celebrities such as star pianist Lang Lang have also been concluded.

Another highlight of recent years is the Steinway Spirio – a grand piano capable of playing programmed pieces itself. According to the company, this would also cater to non-musicians as customers. A third of sales come from this division.

Musicians from all over the world play instruments

The company is already 169 years old and was founded by German immigrant Henry Engelhard in New York. Big names in classical and pop music play on the company’s grand and upright pianos. The prospectus states that “Lang Lang and Billy Joel and jazz legends such as Ahmad Jamal and McCoy Tyner always chose Steinway as the instrument they wanted to express their art.”

The instruments are made in Astoria and Hamburg. Prices are between US$60,000 and US$340,000 and construction takes about six months.

Leave a Comment