New bidder emerges for Furniture Brands

Daily Journal

The largest shareholder of Furniture Brands International plans to make a competitive offer for the company.

Samson Holdings, which is owned by Samuel Kuo and his wife, Grace Liu, said they plan to submit a bid by Dec. 5 for the company.

Furniture Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.

Initially, Oaktree Capital Management offered $166 million for the company’s assets, except for Lane Furniture Industries.

Prior to its parent company’s Chapter 11 filing Lane employed about 1,400 people at four facilities in Northeast Mississippi. The company is still operating.

KPS Capital Partners later offered a higher bid, indicating it wanted to include Lane.

A bidding war ensued, with KPS bumping its stalking horse bid to $280 million.

In a regulatory filing Monday, Kuo said he intends to make another bid by Dec. 5. An auction is scheduled for Dec. 10 in the Delaware U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The filing says Samson will make a bid “with terms that are the same or better than the stalking horse bidder.”

A stalking horse bid sets the minimum auction price.

Samson owns about 9.5 percent of Furniture Brands’ shares. The company owned a 13 percent stake in late 2007 and had inquired about a merger but was rebuffed.

And in 2008, Sun Capital also made a “premium” offering of $14 to $16 a share to buy Furniture Brands, but also was turned away.

Furniture Brands hasn’t made a profit since 2006. From 2007-2009, it lost a combined $524 million. It lost $39 million in 2010, $43 million in 2011 and $47 million last year.