A friend of a friend, who frequently visits Prague, has been hearing rumours, probably malicious, that cashflow problems at Petrof, the Czech family business which has been making pianos for nearly 150 years, are sufficiently severe as to risk forcing the company to close within a year unless a backer can be found to provide a major cash injection. He says secret negotiations have been taking place with various possible parties, and the latest gossip on the street is that agreement has just been reached with the giant consortium ONAI, little known outside the Czech Republic. The deal, due to be announced this week, is in effect a takeover, but the piano business will continue to be permitted to use the family name alongside that of the consortium. Starting this month, all instruments shipped from the factory will now be branded ONAIPETROF. Whoever the backer was going to be, a change of branding was going to be virtually unavoidable, and my friend thinks that the consortium's name was one of the factors which Petrof management took into account in their choice of backer, considering what you get when you spell the new brand name backwards.