Notes of Sorrow in Changes at Steinway
By JAMES BARRON
With Steinway & Sons up for sale, pianists worry that the products just won't be the same.
與Steinway & Sons 產品的緣份。
Wikipedia article Steinway & Sons.此文內有一百多條的出處注解，
Bryan Thomas for The New York Times
First, Steinway & Sons closed on the sale of its Beaux-Arts Manhattan building on West 57th Street, where the likes of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Vladimir Horowitz once practiced. Three days later, it announced that it was planning to sell the whole company to a private-equity firm that owns more than 15 other medium-size manufacturers, making everything from windshield wipers to sewing machines to coffins.
施坦威(Steinway & Sons)鋼琴公司先是關閉了曼哈頓西57街上那棟學院派建築風格大廈內的生意，謝爾蓋·拉赫瑪尼諾夫(Sergei Rachmaninoff)和弗拉基米爾·霍洛維茨(Vladimir Horowitz)等人曾經在那裡練過琴。三天后，它又宣布計劃將整個公司賣給一家私募公司，該公司擁有15家中等規模的其他產品製造商，從汽車雨刷和縫紉機到棺材，無所不包。
For pianists who obsess about all things Steinway — is a brand-new Steinway as good as one from the 1920s, and are those made in Germany preferable to those made in New York? — the developments had the force of a one-two punch. Pianists cherish memories of the first time they set foot in the building and its famous basement, where generations of professional pianists have chosen the Steinways they played at concerts and recording sessions.
They also worry that new owners could meddle with Steinway's time-honored and time-consuming manufacturing methods. Steinway spends almost a year building each grand piano, and pianists fret that an assembly line speedup at the company's two factories would spoil what they prize: the delicacy of a Steinway's touch, the colorations of its sound.
Bryan Thomas for The New York Times
“There's concern any time there's a shift,” the pianist Gary Graffman said. “There's no way of my knowing: will they take as much care with each piano as they have in the past?”
It is a question that has reverberated through the music world since the $438 million deal for the company was announced last week. The offer, which came from the private equity firm Kohlberg & Company, would take Steinway private. It has been traded under the stock symbol LVB, for Ludwig van Beethoven, since Steinway went public in 1996.
上個星期，施坦威公司宣布了這筆價值4.38億美元的交易，自那以後，這個問題就一直在音樂界迴響。這筆出價來自私募公司科爾伯格(Kohlberg & Company)，它將收購施坦威公司。交易是以LVB，即路德維格·馮·貝多芬(Ludwig van Beethoven)的縮寫這個股票代碼進行的，施坦威自1996年上市以來一直使用這個代碼。
Steinway is now 13 days into a 45-day “go-shop” period, during which it can consider other bids, and at least one portfolio manager whose firm has a stake in Steinway has said the price is too low. Shares of Steinway closed at $36.18 on Friday, $1.18 above Kohlberg's $35-a-share offer.
Kohlberg is “not contemplating any changes to any of the manufacturing operations,” said a Kohlberg investment partner, Christopher W. Anderson, adding that there had been no discussion of closing or moving the factories in Astoria, Queens, and Hamburg, Germany. He would not comment on whether Steinway's top management would remain after the takeover. (Kohlberg's chairman, James A. Kohlberg, has been a director of The New York Times Company since 2008.)
科爾伯格公司目前“並不考慮對製造工序做出任何改變”，公司投資夥伴克里斯托弗·W·安德森(Christopher W. Anderson)補充說，公司沒有討論過關閉或遷移施坦威公司位於皇后區阿斯托利亞和德國漢堡的兩處工廠。對於收購後施坦威公司高層的去留，他表示無可奉告（科爾伯格的總裁詹姆斯·A·科爾伯格[James A. Kohlberg]自2008年開始成為《紐約時報》集團的董事之一）。
Beyond the balance sheet, Mr. Anderson, 38, has an interest in the company's products. “I grew up playing on a Steinway,” he said in an interview this week: an upright that once belonged to his great-grandmother. And on Friday, he posted a letter online to Steinway's dealers in which he said one of Kohlberg's “main goals for Steinway” was to “preserve and support everything that makes a Steinway piano special.” He also said that by going private, Steinway would be “ free from the short-term financial constraints of publicly-traded companies” and would have more latitude to “plan and invest with a long-term perspective.”
The deal would give Steinway its fifth set of owners. In 1972, the Steinway family — descendants of the immigrant instrument maker who started the company in 1853 — sold it to CBS. That marriage eventually soured, and in the 1980s, Steinway was sold to an investment group from Boston. Steinway changed hands again in the 1990s, when it was bought by what was then Selmer Industries, a band-instrument manufacturer with plants in the Midwest and South. The combined company was led by two investment bankers who had controlled Selmer, Kyle R. Kirkland and Dana D. Messina.
這項交易令施坦威公司迎來了它的第五期主人。 1853年，樂器生產者施坦威家族創立了這個公司，1972年，他們移民美國的後裔將公司賣給了CBS。這項合作很快破裂，20世紀80年代，施坦威被賣給波士頓的一個投資公司，於90年代再度易手，被賣給當時名為塞爾瑪工業(Selmer Industries)的樂隊樂器生產公司，它在中西部和南部擁有工廠。新的聯合公司由塞爾瑪的所有者，投資銀行家凱爾·R·科克蘭德(Kyle R. Kirkland)和戴納·D·麥西納(Dana D. Messina)所有。
Mr. Messina served as chief executive until 2011, stepping down after he and John M. Stoner Jr., the president of the band-instrument division, made a bid to buy everything but the company's piano operations. Steinway began a review of strategic alternatives that ended last December, when it turned down the Stoner-Messina offer and said the company was not for sale. Then came the overture from Kohlberg.
直至2011年，麥西納先生擔任公司首席執行官。與公司樂隊樂器部門負責人小約翰·M·斯通(John M. Stoner Jr.)出價收購公司除鋼琴部門之外的所有部門後，他從施坦威公司辭職。去年12月，施坦威公司拒絕了斯通-麥西納的出價，聲稱公司拒絕出售，並開始研究戰略替代者。之後便迎來了科爾伯格的提議。
Under Mr. Messina's replacement — Michael T. Sweeney, a former president of Starbucks in Britain who is chairman of the holding company for The Minneapolis Star-Tribune — Steinway's financial picture brightened. The company posted a profit of $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2013, up from $590,000 in the first quarter of 2012. Piano sales rose 2.9 percent worldwide.
接替麥西納職位的是英國星巴克的前總裁邁克爾·T·斯維尼(Michael T. Sweeney)，如今擔任《明尼阿波利斯星論壇報》(The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)控股公司董事長。在他領導下，施坦威的經濟前景一片光明。公司公佈的2013年第一季度盈利為270萬美元，比起2012年同期的59萬美元大大增加。全球鋼琴銷售額增長了2.9%。
To keep pace with orders in Europe and Asia, Steinway has increased its work force by almost 20 percent in the last year at the Hamburg plant, and Mr. Sweeney said that leaving either New York or Hamburg “would be pushing the self-destruct button for an investor.”
He said the building on 57th Street was another matter. He called it old and forbidding — it opened in 1925 down the block and across the street from Carnegie Hall — and a financial burden. Steinway is shopping for space in Manhattan, convenient to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and Mr. Sweeney said he wanted a showroom where the pianos would look like “sculptural objects,” along with a recital hall and practice rooms.
Steinway must vacate the 57th Street space by the end of next year, and many pianists are sorry it is leaving. “I'm sure I'm with everybody else on this, that it's a shame that building will no longer be Steinway Hall, ” the pianist Emanuel Ax said. “One of the two times that I met Horowitz for five seconds was when they did a celebration in that building after his 1965 return” to performing, at Carnegie Hall. “That was very, very meaningful.”
施坦威必須於明年年底搬出57街的建築，許多鋼琴家都對此感到難過。 “我敢肯定其他人的感受和我一樣，那棟建築不再屬於施坦威，真讓人難堪，”鋼琴家艾曼紐·阿克斯(Emanuel Ax)說。 “我曾在那裡見到過霍洛維茨兩次，其中一次只有五秒鐘，是1965年他重返樂壇時他們在那裡舉行慶祝會，”那場演出是在卡耐基音樂廳。 “那對我來說太有意義了。”
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