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FTC ends waiting period early for Steinway deal

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) -- Steinway is again becoming a private company after getting clearance from federal regulators.

The piano maker and the investment firm Paulson & Co. Inc. said Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission terminated a required waiting period early, the last hurdle in clearing the $499 million sale.

In August, Paulson said it would pay $40 per share to buy the storied company, topping an earlier $35 per-share offer from Kohlberg & Co. Paulson's tender offer for shares expires on Sept. 18.

Steinway has been in business for 160 years. Its pianos have been a status symbol and a must-have luxury in concert halls for more than a century, but the company suffered during the recession. Sales have increased in the past few years, but have yet to return to their pre-recession levels.

Shares of the Waltham, Mass.-based piano company fell a penny to $40.15 by midmorning.