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#2158529 - 09/27/13 10:31 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Minnesota Marty]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
You do display your association with PB and it is quite prominent. Your disclaimer covers you and your clients, and you are not a client of PB, you are an employee or affiliate. The lack of PB in your disclaimer of opinion makes the inference that you are always speaking on behalf of PB, as opposed to your other professional entities with which you are affiliated.

Here is the first Google definition of client: "A person or organization using the services of a lawyer or other professional person or company." This would seem to indicate PB is one of Steve's clients. I think it's clear to almost everyone except you that Steve's posts are his own ideas and not those of PB or any other of his clients. I think his signature explains everything very clearly.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/27/13 10:41 AM)

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#2158539 - 09/27/13 10:59 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Ian,

I would suggest to Mr. Paulson to stress manufacturing consistency and insure that all pianos are produced to fall within very narrow mechanical tolerances. Even through the use of "hand built" there is a wide range from sloppy to immaculate. Steinway needs to always be as close to perfection as is possible in its craftsmanship.

Craftsmanship leads to artistry. Steinway does this very well. The "Steinway Sound" needs to be retained and promoted. It is the sound of the Steinway which is the biggest selling point, as long as manufacturing standards are at the very highest level.

I believe that best thing that Mr. Paulson can do is to listen to his builders and staff, of all instrument lines, to put quality and excellence first. He knows how to develop and grow the SMI companies from a marketing standpoint, and he has the resources to accomplish his goals. He should not, however, meddle with the concept of what makes a Steinway a Steinway. He should insist that all products under his purview be of the highest quality in any given price range.

I have had the chance to play several new S&S-O and put them through their paces. They were exceptional instruments and at least from my inspection, they were as carefully built, fit and finish, as any on the market. The tonal structure of these instruments was exceptional. Each with their own voice, yet all sounding like a Steinway.

Something that I would personally like to see would be the re-introduction of the 'C' built in Astoria. To my ear, it has the tonal structure and personality of the 'D,' but does not have the sheer power needed for concerto performance. For the serious pianist, it is a remarkable instrument and is very different than the 'B.' From what I have been told, the action geometry is identical to the 'D' and I sense that from my own experience.

There is a marked tonal difference between Hamburg and Astoria. That difference should be maintained but the NY versions need to be at the same level, with regard to fit and finish, as their German cousins. From what I have played recently, they are well on their way.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2158545 - 09/27/13 11:17 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
PLU,

"Using the services of" indicates the engagement of an independent contractor. I certainly don't know Mr. Cohen's contractual agreement with Mr. Fine, but by all appearances he is not an independent contractor, but rather a full time employee and representative.

He would be in the position, I surmise, to select and engage an independent contractor to submit and article to the publication. This is not at all uncommon at PW, however those authors are independent contractors and their work product is not categorized as employment. They act as consultants to the publication.

Mr. Cohen is not a "client of" PW, he is "part of" PW. This is exactly the ambiguity contained within his disclaimer.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2158550 - 09/27/13 11:27 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2629
Loc: western Wisconsin
I concur with much of the above - I celebrate the fact the NY and Hamburg instruments have different tonal qualities, and I hope it stays this way for the benefit of choice for players around the world.

I also share Mary's sentiments regarding wanting to see consistently great instruments out of the NY factory, every time.

One brainstorm (if any of the Steinway "brass" were reading this) that might be interesting to ponder: if Steinway NY is able to finish a piano as well as the Hamburg one, why not offer the customer a choice of "European voicing" with whatever materials are different in the Hamburg pianos and "American voicing" with the stuff that already goes in the NY piano? Both could be offered at the same price (it would be built in NY), eliminating the arbitrary Hamburg "tax" you have to pay to buy a new German Steinway in the US.

To some extent, I know this already occurs with rebuilders, but why not for new production at the factory?
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2158555 - 09/27/13 11:30 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Marty

Thank you for an excellent response.

I was not going to comment because I have said enough already, but you mention the C.

There must surely be a golden opportunity to introduce a superlative new version of that model.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2158557 - 09/27/13 11:32 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Minnesota Marty]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
PLU,

"Using the services of" indicates the engagement of an independent contractor. I certainly don't know Mr. Cohen's contractual agreement with Mr. Fine, but by all appearances he is not an independent contractor, but rather a full time employee and representative.

He would be in the position, I surmise, to select and engage an independent contractor to submit and article to the publication. This is not at all uncommon at PW, however those authors are independent contractors and their work product is not categorized as employment. They act as consultants to the publication.

Mr. Cohen is not a "client of" PW, he is "part of" PW. This is exactly the ambiguity contained within his disclaimer.
I'm not at all sure your idea of the meaning of client is correct. It's definitely not how I'd interpret it. But even if your take is correct, I doubt anyone other than a lawyer or a pedant gave this distinction a second's thought or found Steve's disclaimer ambiguous. His signature has been the same for more than a year and no one said a word about it before this thread.

If you are really trying to offer him advice rather than just criticize(as it appears in this thread where you began by misinterpreting his post), you should do this in a PM.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/27/13 11:37 AM)

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#2158571 - 09/27/13 12:12 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Minnesota Marty]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Hi Ian,

I would suggest to Mr. Paulson to stress manufacturing consistency and insure that all pianos are produced to fall within very narrow mechanical tolerances. Even through the use of "hand built" there is a wide range from sloppy to immaculate. Steinway needs to always be as close to perfection as is possible in its craftsmanship.

Craftsmanship leads to artistry. Steinway does this very well. The "Steinway Sound" needs to be retained and promoted. It is the sound of the Steinway which is the biggest selling point, as long as manufacturing standards are at the very highest level.

I believe that best thing that Mr. Paulson can do is to listen to his builders and staff, of all instrument lines, to put quality and excellence first. He knows how to develop and grow the SMI companies from a marketing standpoint, and he has the resources to accomplish his goals. He should not, however, meddle with the concept of what makes a Steinway a Steinway. He should insist that all products under his purview be of the highest quality in any given price range.

I have had the chance to play several new S&S-O and put them through their paces. They were exceptional instruments and at least from my inspection, they were as carefully built, fit and finish, as any on the market. The tonal structure of these instruments was exceptional. Each with their own voice, yet all sounding like a Steinway.

Something that I would personally like to see would be the re-introduction of the 'C' built in Astoria. To my ear, it has the tonal structure and personality of the 'D,' but does not have the sheer power needed for concerto performance. For the serious pianist, it is a remarkable instrument and is very different than the 'B.' From what I have been told, the action geometry is identical to the 'D' and I sense that from my own experience.

There is a marked tonal difference between Hamburg and Astoria. That difference should be maintained but the NY versions need to be at the same level, with regard to fit and finish, as their German cousins. From what I have played recently, they are well on their way.


Great response, Marty. I would add to this consistent preparation at the factory rather than at the dealer level to ensure that the instruments are presented as far as is possible at their best to the consumer.

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#2158587 - 09/27/13 12:48 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
sophial - I completely agree.

Mr. Paulson - Take Note!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2158611 - 09/27/13 02:07 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1752
I would like to add to the advice that Mr. Paulson exercise some oversight of Steinway dealer tactics. We have seen plenty of evidence here both in individual stories (admittedly anecdotal) and on dealer websites that are linked here that such oversight might be a good idea.

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#2158633 - 09/27/13 02:54 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
I'd suggest getting rid of that investment stuff-anyone who knows just a little bit about the piano market (or the economy in general) knows it's all baloney :P
_________________________
2012 Kawai K3

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#2158674 - 09/27/13 04:20 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Marty.

I am not, nor have I ever been an employee of PB.

Larry was a consulting client. Part of my tasks was contributing and editing the recurring articles in PB.

Currently I do so few hours work for Larry that most of it is done "pro bono".
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2160204 - 09/30/13 07:15 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Rich Galassini]
phacke Offline

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 470
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Originally Posted By: phacke

Greetings, Mr. Greg.

As for soundboard, how about loosening the string in storage to remove load on the board?


This is not really possible with a compression crowned board. The load is part of what keeps it intact in the first place.



Hello, I thought some more about this and I cannot figure out why this is not possible, especially if the piano is maintained under relatively dry conditions. At around 10°C and 20% RH, moisture content of spruce is about 6%, which is pretty close to the conditions at which the soundboard was attached to the ribs, thus built-in stress driving creep is significantly relieved. With strings loosened too, what stress remains that does damage?

Thanks-


Edited by phacke (09/30/13 07:19 PM)
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Händel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

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#2161287 - 10/03/13 04:33 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: phacke]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1198
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi P,

Well...

1- wood responds inconsistently to environmental changes. You can't make any general predictions about how a particular piece of wood, or wooden construction, will react over time. Some will do very well. Others won't last at all.

2- As Rich points out, the down-bearing is an essential feature of the construction and is necessary to maintain its integrity.

3- wood does not live forever. Heck, even wooden furniture will wear out over time just because of changes in temperature and humidity! It doesn't require bugs or tension to have it fall apart on you.

4- if wood doesn't live forever, felt lives even a shorter lifespan. So you can count on replacing all the felt parts before you replace the wooden ones, at the least. And that's a lot of felt. How well would your Steinway play, I wonder, if all the felt parts were missing? Not well!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2161318 - 10/03/13 05:22 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: phacke]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: phacke
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Originally Posted By: phacke

Greetings, Mr. Greg.

As for soundboard, how about loosening the string in storage to remove load on the board?


This is not really possible with a compression crowned board. The load is part of what keeps it intact in the first place.



Hello, I thought some more about this and I cannot figure out why this is not possible, especially if the piano is maintained under relatively dry conditions. At around 10°C and 20% RH, moisture content of spruce is about 6%, which is pretty close to the conditions at which the soundboard was attached to the ribs, thus built-in stress driving creep is significantly relieved. With strings loosened too, what stress remains that does damage?

Thanks-


I believe that the spruce should be attached to the ribs at about 4% moisture content. The reason for this is that they should be attached at the lowest moisture content that the piano will be expected to encounter under normal circumstances, because if it gets lower, the wood will contract, and since it is fastened to the ribs, which do not contract at the same rate, it will be under tension which can cause it to crack.

I believe that removing tension will allow wood to regain its original shape. It takes longer than some other materials do, however. When we remove the old strings from pianos, they immediately assume the curve that came from the wire originally being spooled, despite the years that they may have spent under tension. Hubbard, in his book about harpsichords, wrote about removing the bentside from an old Italian harpsichord, and in a few days, it was almost flat again. But it was not immediate.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2161323 - 10/03/13 05:29 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Steve Cohen]
TGG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/20/04
Posts: 81
Loc: Houston
Steve,

This thread took some weird twists-discussions of architecture, investment value of fine pianos and you. I find your industry insight invaluable and usually just grit my teeth when folks criticize you as a Steinway hater.

Here, you've tried too hard to give Paulson the benefit of the doubt. He's a scumbag. During the mortgage meltdown, he and his company assembled a package of mortgage backed securities calculated to fall in value, the package was marketed by Goldman Sachs as a sure winner and a safe investment, and Paulson made more than a billion dollars by shorting the investment (betting against it going up in value). Here is a link to an archived LA Times article.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/17/business/la-fi-goldman-paulson17-2010apr17

Goldman Sachs paid a huge penalty in the SEC's criminal prosecution relating to this episode. Paulson's company has never been penalized, and he likes to point out that, hey, he didn't market the crappy paper...he just helped pick it out with the intent that it should go down in value.

If I worked at Steinway, I'd be getting my resume together. It'll be sold or moved to China within four years.

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#2161473 - 10/03/13 10:54 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: TGG]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1198
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: TGG
Steve,

This thread took some weird twists-discussions of architecture, investment value of fine pianos and you. I find your industry insight invaluable and usually just grit my teeth when folks criticize you as a Steinway hater.

Here, you've tried too hard to give Paulson the benefit of the doubt. He's a scumbag. ...Goldman Sachs paid a huge penalty in the SEC's criminal prosecution relating to this episode. Paulson's company has never been penalized, and he likes to point out that, hey, he didn't market the crappy paper...he just helped pick it out with the intent that it should go down in value.

If I worked at Steinway, I'd be getting my resume together. It'll be sold or moved to China within four years.


...update: I've almost got all the sackcloth together. The mourners are schedule for Saturday night, as soon as the dirge starts playing...
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2161493 - 10/04/13 12:27 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Ain't NO ONE going to tell John Paulson how to do his job. It's his baby, and he can do whatever he likes
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2163269 - 10/08/13 03:54 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Dara Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 1028
Loc: west coast island, canada
"At the center of the transactions described in the government's fraud case against Goldman, Sachs & Co. is New York hedge fund operator John Paulson, whose firm made $15 billion in 2007 by betting that Americans would default on their home loans in droves."
L.A.Times

John Paulson and others that may benefit from this Steinway transaction.... carry on grabbing at money and self deluded prestige .... while pretending that they're contributing to culture.

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#2163320 - 10/08/13 08:10 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1241
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I've worked for several companies who got bought out and the new owners ALWAYS carry on about how nothing will change except for the better and that we should all be very happy and secure.

Then, after a short period of time, the true motives start to come out and they are nearly always to the great detriment of the company and the employees with the new owners cashing in.

We'll see, it will be interesting to watch. I hope this one is different. The guy seems a little too slick for my taste.
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

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#2163326 - 10/08/13 08:23 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
I just wish that he would learn to pronounce the word "epitome" if he is going to us it as a descriptive for S&S.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2163362 - 10/08/13 09:55 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1241
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
I just wish that he would learn to pronounce the word "epitome" if he is going to us it as a descriptive for S&S.


I expect this is an indication that he was trying to read something that someone else wrote.
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

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#2163383 - 10/08/13 10:42 AM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
I highly recommend Zuckerman's book about Paulson:

http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Trade-Ever-Behind-Scenes/dp/0385529945

It explains all about Credit Default Swaps, which are a fairly complicated thing, and how Paulson was one of the few people who figured out how to profit from the inevitable crash.

Steinway needs a complete overhaul, and I hope Paulson does it.
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2163446 - 10/08/13 12:30 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1635
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Typically, all is fine until stockholders tire of bleeding red ink. Then everything can change. Time will answer.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicæ

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2163492 - 10/08/13 02:15 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: Dara]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1198
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Dara
"At the center of the transactions described in the government's fraud case against Goldman, Sachs & Co. is New York hedge fund operator John Paulson, whose firm made $15 billion in 2007 by betting that Americans would default on their home loans in droves."
L.A.Times

John Paulson and others that may benefit from this Steinway transaction.... carry on grabbing at money and self deluded prestige .... while pretending that they're contributing to culture.


+1!!!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2163525 - 10/08/13 03:47 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: laguna_greg]
wimpiano Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 991
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Dara
"At the center of the transactions described in the government's fraud case against Goldman, Sachs & Co. is New York hedge fund operator John Paulson, whose firm made $15 billion in 2007 by betting that Americans would default on their home loans in droves."
L.A.Times

John Paulson and others that may benefit from this Steinway transaction.... carry on grabbing at money and self deluded prestige .... while pretending that they're contributing to culture.


Being responsible for these actions I could only classify him, pardon my French, as scumbag.

Pure evil. (I suppose most of you would when you understood half of what he did and the impact it had).


Edited by wimpiano (10/08/13 03:58 PM)
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S .

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#2163533 - 10/08/13 04:30 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: wimpiano]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: wimpiano
I suppose most of you would when you understood half of what he did and the impact it had.

Please explain.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2163541 - 10/08/13 04:47 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
wimpiano Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 991
Loc: The Netherlands
Without getting in too much detail this is the exact cause of the ongoing financial crisis: Leveraged bets.
Primary impact was on homeowners and institutional investors such as Pension Funds (and their clients), secondary impact on banks, and so on. Quite some construction workers were put out of business (and are still going out of business right now) all due to gambling of greedy people..

Of course all of it is not to blame on him personally but it is on this style of making money.
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S .

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#2163554 - 10/08/13 05:19 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
The financial merry go round was out of control, I agree, and many, many people were only too happy to take advantage of the credit available, including governments. Bubbles.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2163573 - 10/08/13 06:00 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
The one thing that we don't know is Paulson's expected return and across what period of time. For Paulson, and his firm, the cost of purchase was so insignificant it may be nothing more than a prestige item where deficits are of no concern.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2163585 - 10/08/13 06:21 PM Re: New Owner of Steinway, John Paulson [Re: S. Phillips]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
My own opinion is that Paulson's hedge fund didn't do anything fundamentally wrong.

Don't confuse what Paulson did vs. what companies like Goldman & ACA allegedly did.

Imagine a piano broker (Goldman), working on a deal involving one party (Paulson) to sell the piano to another party (ABN Amro). In the middle there's a piano tech / appraiser (ACA) who was to help select & appraise the piano to sell.

Everyone wants the best deal. So Paulson wants to sell the cheapest piano for the highest price. ABN AMRO wants to buy the best piano possible for the least price. Goldman and ACA are to get transaction fees for brokering the fees & appraising the piano, respectively. (**)

In this case, Goldman allegedly lied to ABN AMRO about the state of the piano, and that they allowed Paulson to select the piano in question. And to make the matters worse, the appraiser ACA turned out to be incompetent.

ABN Amro bought a junk piano and lost a ton of money when the piano market collapsed. But that wasn't Paulson's fault. First, it's caveat emptor, ABN Amro didn't do their homework (they should've read Larry Fine's guide). Second, Paulson made no representations about the state of the piano, Goldman did. Third, it was ACA that did the incompetent appraisal, not Paulson.

(**) Note: obviously I'm simplifying a bit as the deal involved derivatives of an instrument, not an actual instrument like a Piano.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

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