Piano Maker B‹sendorfer Sold

Classic Arts News   Piano Maker B‹sendorfer Sold
The fabled Austrian piano manufacturer B‹sendorfer has been sold for just under €11 million, according to the Austrian national broadcaster ORF and Deutsche Presse-Agentur. The purchaser, Brodmann Pianos of Vienna, beat out rival Yamaha Pianos of Japan.

B‹sendorfer — whose instruments have been considered to rank at the highest level of quality, alongside those of Steinway, Bechstein and Pleyel — has been struggling financially in recent years, with a loss of €2 million in 2006 and accumulated debt of €8 million, according to DPA.

The Austrian banking group BAWAG acquired B‹sendorfer in 2001 for about US$25 million; the sale of the piano maker follows the purchase of BAWAG by the US hedge fund Cerberus earlier this year.

Brodmann Pianos was founded by Joseph Brodmann, who was the teacher of Ignaz B‹sendorfer. The apprentice acquired his master's company and created B‹sendorfer Pianos in 1828 (though the two firms subsequently split). Brodmann's current chief, Christian H‹ferl, is a former B‹sendorfer sales executive.

According to DPA, B‹sendorfer staff demanded guarantees that manufacturing operations would not be moved abroad, maintaining that the Austrian provenance of the company's pianos is an integral part of their identity.

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