Paulson Preserves Steinway Tradition: CEO Sweeney

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Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Michael Sweeney, president & CEO at Steinway Musical Instruments, discusses the purchase of the piano maker by Paulson & Co. on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

Paulson was ultimately an acquirer because he is an owner of three steinway pianos.

He plays piano?

He plays a bit but members of his family play quite a bit.

So, it is a family affair.

When he plays chopsticks, he can do better than me.

Within the steinway magic and brand, how do you find the labor?

How are you going to maintain the tradition of the older people we saw?

It is an extraordinary situation.

In our factory in a story we have third and fourth generation workers.

So our best recruiters are our current workers and they are also the one to maintain the quality control because workers who are not committed to the same level of excellence are not invited to stay.

Both of the recruiting and the quality control is done by our current workforce.

Colberg had put a bid in but john paulson one out.

What makes it so attractive to private equity investors?

A rare 160-year-old company that has rare growth opportunities and the brand is known around the world and the product is clearly the finest of its kind.

The combination brought in many potential acquirers.

When you say organic growth opportunities, do you mean domestically or outside the united states?

In both.

The most obvious is the developing world.

We have a very quickly growing business in china, brazil, russia.

We also have great growth opportunities in the united states.

When you go outside the united states, the jobs you will need to hide her to make the pianos, will those be in the united states of the countries?

We are committed to the two factories we have, new york city and hamburg, germany.

Is a steinway in china the same as at harrison's at 58th street?

Exactly the same.

The same in beijing?

We typically supply our customers with pianos from hamburg, there are minor differences.

What are the differences?

Cosmetic differences.


Squared off arm in new york and rounded in hamburg.

Minor differences because since 1880 we have run the two factories in overtime -- can i go narrow?

1826, change from bach and beethoven, lvb was your symbol, and then you figured out the felt.

Where do you get the felt on your damping keys?

Michael spence studied this at oxford years ago.

The felt comes down on the string -- that's right, the hammer.

We do not make our supplier list, the -- public.

Triple top secret, how they make the felt?

Everything is top secret.

You mention china and perhaps brazil.

And they are dealing with higher inflation and slower growth.

What is the appetite for a $150,000 grant piano?

Let's choose china as the first example.

Customers in america have had the opportunity to acquire a steinway.

So, many of the people who will own a steinway, already do.

That is not true in china.

People my age grew up during the cultural revolution in china where music, and particularly western music, was not loved away it is today.

Today there are 35 million chinese children taking piano lessons.

It is an astounding number.

And we hope some of them will ultimately on a steinway.

A driving question -- how do you get a steinway in a skyscraper?

Do you really put it up aside?

In new york city, in particular.

In many of the world capital cities cranes are used to bring pianos and from the outside through the window.

But more modern buildings have freight elevators that are quite a commentators.

-- quite accommodating.

Michael spence, d c a steinway in every home in shanghai?

There is an enormous wealth.

The upper end is a very large group of people.

I think a lot of them will want to own a steinway.

Some of the finest guinness in the world are coming out of china.

And the pricing power you would have presumably there, the chinese consumer has the mindset if it costs more it must be higher polity.

I suppose it translates what you can charge for abb grand -- for abb grand.

They are recognizing steinway is the finest of its kind.

Those walnut sound different than the black pianos?


ok, scarlet, walnut k52. and i would like a yacht and a dupe locks on park avenue.

You might be surprised to find how many yachts actually have a steinway on them.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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