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For John Paulson, Steinway deal means more than profits

Kerima Greene, Senior Talent Producer, Power Lunch
John Paulson on why he bought Steinway

When billionaire John Paulson unexpectedly bought Steinway last month, many on Wall Street wondered by a hedge fund manager was interested in a musical instruments maker. But the legendary investor considers himself the "guardian" of this unique American icon, he later explained.

"I grew up in a family of piano players. Both my sisters were serious players and they both as they became more accomplished aspired to buy a Steinway and asked my dad to buy a Steinway. At that time they were playing on an upright piano. My father did his shopping and at the end of the day it was not something we could afford. So he did buy a baby grand and brought it home and it wasn't a Steinway and my sister was crying. It's when I first realized at the time was how powerful the draw was for musicians to play on a Steinway."

In Paulson's mind, he insists that you can never have too many Steinways.

"I don't view it as an expense, I view it as an investment. Over time, they will increase in value. They are the epitome of high culture and art. My goal is preserve it and to ensure the greatness is continued in particular to the quality of the instruments and secondly to expand the distribution to other parts of the world where not fully represented ... not only in the current generations but future generations to come," he said.

"When you have something that is perfect, that occupies a position and sector unrivaled, by anyone else, that's one thing we do not want to tamper with. I don't think anyone should worry about the new owner. I am in awe of the brand and there is nothing I would do or contemplate doing that would anyway impact the unique pedestal that Steinway occupies in the industry, 160 years, uncompromising reputation for excellence and and its my goal to safeguard that reputation and continue that pursuit of perfection," he said.

Steinway CEO: Delighted Paulson wanted Steinway

The man behind the deal, is Steinway CEO Michael Sweeney. "We were delighted John was the ultimate buyer of Steinway. Steinway now has a steward that cares passionately about the company." He told "Power Lunch."

Part of the appeal of a Steinway, Sweeney explains, is that the pianos hold their value. "That's been a key part of their success for a long time. But large parts of the world that have not had access to Steinways: China, Russia, Brazil. Giving people in those communities who are creating new wealth, access to the highest levels of art and culture. That is a big part of our mission. The American still our largest market by far, though."

What remains constant, throughout, is Steinway's focus on the artists who play its pianos, including everyone from Sergei Rachmaninoff and Gustav Mahler to Vladimir Horowitz, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Billy Joel.

One of the most prominent Steinway artists performing today are The 5 Browns, an ensemble consisting of five siblings--two brothers and three sisters: Desirae, Deondra. Gregory, Melody and Ryan. The first family of five siblings accepted simultaneously to New York's Juilliard School. The 5 Browns have released 3 CDs that each went to No. 1 on Billboard magazine's Classical Album Chart.

—By CNBC's Kerima Greene. Follow her on Twitter @KerimaGreene