mergers & acquisitions | Jun 26, 2024 |
Thibaut acquires Rosemary Hallgarten

Thibaut, the 138-year-old fabric, wallpaper and furniture company, has acquired textile brand Rosemary Hallgarten. Rosemary Hallgarten herself will remain on as chief creative officer of her namesake company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re always looking to grow,” says Thibaut CEO Rick Kilmer. “[When] you come across [a brand like] Rosemary’s, with incredibly compelling product design, exclusivity, and a very smart businessperson running it all … It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”

The deal came together last year, when Thibaut approached Hallgarten about a possible acquisition. The textile artist, who started the company out of her San Francisco apartment in 2001, hadn’t been in the market for a buyer. But as she began discussing the deal with Kilmer, the prospect of tapping into Thibaut’s resources—and freeing up her time to focus on creativity—was appealing.

“You’re at a point when you reach a certain scale and you want to keep growing,” says Hallgarten. “I’ve got an amazing team, and we get everything done, but I just realized there were all these things [like warehousing and logistical support] we needed, plus my desire to be able to spend more time creating. … [It made sense to] partner with someone who has the operational experience, reputation and know-how to really support me.”

For Thibaut, acquiring Hallgarten’s brand was an opportunity to access new customers and play in a more upscale tier of the market. “There are some things that we do phenomenally well, but the design community is a big community, and we don’t speak to all designers,” says Kilmer. “The design community is kind of like a ladder, and there are levels of aspiration, and Rosemary is at a different rung. That’s about price point, personality and materiality of the product.”

Both say the acquisition is more about synergy on the back end than on the front. The companies will remain separate in the marketplace, with their own showrooms, showroom partners and reps. However, Hallgarten’s company will start to plug into Thibaut’s logistics, warehousing and IT resources.

From a designer’s perspective, not a ton will change, says Hallgarten—save for the rollout of online tools designed to make ordering easier. However, the move will likely free up time for her to create more product more often. “There are so many more things being copied quickly, and there’s a lot more pressure to keep ahead of the game, to keep on developing and producing unique things,” she says. “I need time and creative bandwidth to be able to do that.”

This is the second acquisition in recent years by Thibaut, which purchased Italian furniture and textile brand Coraggio in 2022. It may not be the last. Kilmer says Thibaut’s private equity owner, Norwest Equity Partners, is eager for the company to grow, and acquisition deals—despite a rocky home industry—are part of a broader playbook.

“Whether you’re at the high end or the low end, if you’ve got a good business plan and you stick to it, you’ve got a team that can execute, and you’ve got products that can stand on their own, there are always opportunities out there,” says Kilmer.

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