| Aug 1, 2014 |
Six acquisitions, ownership interests and mergers to note
Boh staff
By Staff

Furniture manufacturers have been busy over the past few months taking ownership interests and acquiring brands alike. Here’s a look at what’s been going on with Herman Miller, Kindel Furniture, Artek, C2 Paint and GJ Styles Inc.

Herman Miller has sold its corporately-owned furniture dealership Workplace Resource Montreal to OBI Environments (OBI), formerly known as Ottawa Business Interiors.

“We have a tremendous contract distribution channel and have enjoyed a long presence in the Montreal market,” said Curt Pullen, Herman Miller’s President of North America. “The opportunity of working more closely with OBI in these markets presents a tremendous opportunity to build-upon our strong base and to serve additional customers. We’re excited to have a dealer with such an outstanding reputation expand into this market. Together, Herman Miller and OBI will continue to provide inspiring, high performance spaces that will deliver tremendous value to our customers in Quebec.”

Herman Miller has also entered into an agreement to acquire an 84% ownership in Design Within Reach for $154 million in cash. DWR’s Chief Executive Officer John Edelman and President John McPhee will together continue to lead the business within Herman Miller and report to Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller. Edelman and McPhee will convert their remaining ownership interest in DWR for an approximate 8.5% ownership stake in a newly formed Herman Miller consumer business unit.

The Kindel Furniture Company has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the assets, intellectual property and operations of Evansville, Indiana-based Karges Furniture, a 128-year old maker of luxury handmade furniture.

“Karges is one of the great furniture brands, a name that represents American craftsmanship, quality and elegant, timeless design,” said James A. Fisher, chairman of Kindel. “Our desire is to invest in the Karges brand and continue the tradition of craftsmanship carried forth by five generations of Karges family ownership. Not only does it ensure the continuation of the Karges brand, but it strengthens the Kindel brand because we share the same values of American hand craftsmanship.” 

 The growth opportunities for both Kindel and Karges include expanded distribution domestically and internationally, increased marketing, increased sales representation to better service customers, collaboration on best practices for executing complex design and cabinetry, and expansion of specialty finishes. 

Finnish furniture company Artek has acquired manufacturer HKT Korhonen’s furniture production rights to Alvar Aalto designs. This important move ensures the continuity and further development of Aalto’s products, while also offering a framework for Artek’s future product development. The history between Artek and HKT Korhonen dates back to the 1930s when Aalto and Otto Korhonen entered into an agreement between Artek, Aino & Alvar Aalto, and the furniture factory Huonekalu- ja Rakennustyötehdas, which now results in integrating the factory’s manufacturing process into Artek’s chain of operations. This strategic cooperation aids in the process of building international cohesion in sales and distribution, a key goal for Artek since Vitra AG purchased it in September 2013.

The Coatings Alliance (TCA), a micro partnership of independent paint retailers who manufacture and sell their own boutique brand, C2 paint, has announced that PPG Industries’ North American Architectural Coatings Business has taken a minority position in TCA. With a new take on economy of sale, PPG and C2 have joined forces to gain greater traction in the ultra-premium segment of the architectural coatings market.

“We are privileged to partner with PPG Industries,” said Tom Hill, Chief Executive Officer of The Coatings Alliance. “As the world’s leading coatings and specialty materials company, PPG Industries’ business stature, expertise and global reach will provide TCA with unsurpassed access to world-class manufacturing and an extensive network of sales representatives with established industry relationships. PPG’s partnership will also allow a greater investment in research and development to ensure C2 Paint’s premier market position, as well as to further its commitment to eco-friendly, more sustainable product.”

CEO Glyn Styles has led a buyout of specialty wholesaler Halo Styles LLC from existing partner Halo Creative & Design Limited (“Halo”). The deal returns full ownership back to Glyn Styles effective immediately and Halo Styles LLC will become known as GJ Styles Inc.

“The team at Halo Styles has been extraordinary to work with over the past six years,” said Tim Oulton, Founder of Halo.  “They have enabled us to execute a business strategy that has led to the penetration of key retail markets and development of brand recognition that would not have been achievable without their partnership.”

Styles added that the ownership change would not result in any major strategic changes at the company and the transition will be seamless to their customer base. Halo and GJ Styles Inc. will continue to have a close relationship; and GJ Styles Inc. will continue distribution of Halo’s products, including brands Timothy Oulton and Halo Furniture.

Acquisitions we missed? Have one in the works? Drop us a line at ssnowden@editoratlarge.com and let us know.

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