Play for Steinway becomes a duet as new bidder emerges
(Reuters) - Steinway Musical Instruments Inc LVB.N, a 160-year-old maker of pianos, saxophones and trumpets, said it received a takeover offer from an investment firm it did not identify that topped a bid by private-equity firm Kohlberg & Co.
The Financial Times reported that hedge fund manager John Paulson was the bidder. A spokesman for Steinway could not be reached for comment on the report, while a spokesman for Paulson declined comment.
Steinway shares rose more than 8 percent to $39.22 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, $1.22 above the new offer price of $38 per share, indicating that some investors expected a higher offer.
The company said only that the new bidder managed more than $15 billion.
Steinway said in December that it had decided not to sell itself after a 17-month-long review of strategic options.
Six months later Kohlberg made an offer of $35 per share, valuing the company at about $438 million. The latest offer values Steinway around $477 million.
Steinway said on Monday its board had determined that the new offer was superior to Kohlberg's.
Kohlberg has the option to improve its offer.
Steinway's pianos have been used by legendary artists such as Cole Porter and Sergei Rachmaninoff and by contemporary ones such as Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang.
But the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company's sales have been stagnating and it has struggled to keep production margins competitive. Sales rose just 2 percent in 2012.
(Reporting By Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Akshay Lodaya, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Chris Gallagher)
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