With the IPO, Steinway Musical Instruments looks to hit the wrong note

With the IPO, Steinway Musical Instruments looks to hit the wrong note ...

Franklin Pierce became President of the United States in 1853, and Washington became a territory, and Levi Strauss opened his clothing and dry-goods business in San Francisco.

In the same year, a German immigrant named Henry Engelhard Steinway built the first Steinway piano in a building at 85 Varick Street in New York City.

Steinway, who went by Steinweg back then, had a simple objective: "To build the best piano possible."

'No Way But Steinway'

The company has expanded dramatically since its early days, and the list of artists who have used Steinway pianos ranges from Irving Berlin and Cole Porter to Sergei Rachmaninoff, to Diana Krall and Billy Joel.

"If I am to be my best, there is no way but Steinway," said pianist Lang Lang.

Steinway Musical Instruments Holdings has filed a lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commission to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol STWY.

"When performing with orchestras across the globe during the 2018-2019 concert season, the Steinway piano was the instrument of choice," the company said in a statement.

Steinway began public in 1996, trading under the ticker name LVB for Ludwig van Beethoven, until billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson purchased the business in 2013.

"John Paulson, a trustee of Steinway, has focused on investing in our business, including in technology, company-owned showrooms, our manufacturing processes and machinery, and on training our employees to form a stronger team," he said in a filing.

Is Timing Correct?"Established, Profitable Company"

For the proposed offer, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Securities and Barclays are the two leading bookrunning managers and representatives.

Is it the right time for an initial public offering to begin?

According to EY, the IPO market will undergo a significant slowdown in 2021, owing to factors such as a rise in geopolitical tensions, stock-market volatility, and concerns over rising commodity and energy prices.

According to EY, there was also a substantial decrease in SPAC IPOs as well as cross-border, unicorn, and mega IPOs, which are those with revenues over $1 billion.

TheStreet Recommendations

"The IPO market has gone from remarkably hot to remarkably cold since the turn of the year," said a professor at the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business.

Ritter said that 2021 was the most active IPO market in the United States since 2000, with a large margin. However, only six IPOs have raised more than $100 million this year.

"Steinway Musical Instruments Holdings is a well-established, profitable company with annual sales of $538 million and after-tax profits of $59.2 million for 2021," he said. "It will have no trouble finding IPO investors at a valuation of over $1 billion."

Tradition, and Innovation

As Steinway advances technology that Henry Engelhard Steinway could never imagine, innovation is proving to be a source of revenue.

In 2015, the company introduced the Spirio player piano, which features notable pianist performance.

Spirio | r, which was first introduced in 2019, has a convenient way to record and high-resolution editing, along with playback.

Last year, the company introduced Spiriocast, which allows performances to be streamed live and in sync with video and audio, from a piano to listeners and viewers anywhere in the world.

Sales of Spirio and Spirio | r pianos increased by more than 30% from 2016 through 2021, representing about 32% of the company's piano-segment net sales in 2021.

New Market of an enticing value

Due to a "deep-rooted reverence for classical music, particularly piano music, and a significant and rapidly expanding middle and upper class with a desire for luxury Western goods, Steinway is also looking toward China.

China is the world's largest piano market, with about 40 million practicing pianists, according to the company. That's roughly seven times the number of practicing pianists in the United States.

According to Steinway, about 30 million children in China are taking piano lessons, compared to less than 10 million in the rest of the world, "suggesting that the majority of children playing the piano worldwide are in China."

"Despite the growing popularity of piano playing in China and our growing strength in the region, we have historically been under-penetrated in the country, selling approximately half as many Steinway grand pianos in China as in the United States," a filing states.

Steinway said it will "visit to capture the growing demand for ultra-premium pianos from private buyers" as China continues to develop and gain wealth.

"Over the last 20 years, we have transformed our business in China to sell more pianos to private customers rather than institutions," the company said.

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