mergers & acquisitions | Jul 25, 2022 |
Thibaut acquires Italian textile and furniture brand Coraggio

New Jersey–based fabric, wallcoverings and furniture brand Thibaut has acquired Italian textile company Coraggio in a transaction that closed on July 13. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Thibaut CEO Rick Kilmer, the two brands began talks of a possible acquisition late last year. For Kilmer—who previously served as president of Holly Hunt and in leadership positions for brands like Kohler and Janus et Cie—the company occupied a familiar segment of the design community, with a product portfolio and client base that provided an ideal opportunity for Thibaut.

“Coraggio has always been a brand with a terrific legacy and such a discriminating palette and client base,” says Kilmer. “[Coraggio CEO Robert Albert] is a terrific founder and so passionate about the company. It was an opportunity too good to walk past.”

Established in 1886, Thibaut counts itself as the oldest operating wallpaper company in the country, but that longevity has not prevented the brand from getting in step with an ever-evolving industry. The company reestablished a showroom network after the 2019 bankruptcy of Robert Allen Duralee, where it had been represented in eight markets. In recent years, the company has also introduced online ordering for designers, explored shopping features on Instagram and hired a digital transformation director to oversee the brand’s IT and improve its operational efficiency. The Coraggio acquisition also comes just months after Thibaut itself was acquired by Minneapolis-based private equity firm Norwest Equity Partners in late 2021.

Though Coraggio’s history does not extend quite as far back, it has grown into a formidable design brand since a 25-year-old Albert founded the company in 1979. Today, Coraggio produces textiles, furniture, lighting, rugs, art and accessories and operates 11 different showrooms in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. Following the acquisition, the two entities will operate largely independently with their current go-to-market approaches; any necessary changes will be discussed at Thibaut’s strategic planning meetings later in the year.

Albert, who will stay on to consult during the transition period, heralded the new home for the brand he founded. “Thibaut has earned a reputation for compelling designs, superior product quality and a collaborative service approach with the interior design community,” he said in a statement. “Partnering with a company like Thibaut and its management team gives me great excitement for the future of Coraggio and the continuing legacy of the brand we established over 40 years ago.”

One of the top priorities following the acquisition will be to move the brand’s extensive product offerings to Thibaut’s new facility in Charlotte, where the New Jersey–based company recently transferred all of its own inventory to take advantage of better operating metrics and shipping conditions. Beyond that, Kilmer says, the company plans to honor Coraggio’s portfolio and maintain its commitment to designers by “building a moat” around the high level of service and quality the company has delivered to trade customers thus far.

“Opportunities like this don’t often present themselves—a great legacy and great brand, all wrapped inside a terrific product assortment,” says Kilmer. “There are not many of these that are always present, so we’re all excited about the future.”

Homepage image: Inside Thibaut’s New York showroom | Courtesy of Thibaut

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