Year in review: Lane Furniture wrapped up in parent company’s woes

lane-furniture-logoBy Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

For several months, workers at Lane Furniture Industries nervously watched the unfolding drama involving its parent company.

Furniture Brands International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 9, shortly after reporting another quarterly loss.

The company hasn’t made an annual profit since 2006.

Before the Chapter 11 filing, Lane Furniture employed 1,400 workers; it’s not known how many remain.

But the company is alive, with a new parent.

KPS Capital Partners, a venture capital firm, bid $280 million for most of Furniture Brands’ assets. Originally, another suitor, Oaktree Capital, had offered $166 million and excluded Lane from its bid.

A bidding war ensued, with KPS eventually emerging with the highest bid.

On Nov. 25, Furniture Brands’ assets were put under control of the newly named Heritage Home Group.

In addition to that move, former Furniture Brands CEO Ralph Scozzafava and former CFO Vance Johnston were ousted, as were the former presidents of Lane and HIckory Chair.

The former board of directors also was dumped.

“This is the beginning of a new era for Heritage Home Group and its brands,” Raquel Vargas Palmer, a partner in KPS, said after the sale. “The company has a new owner, a new CEO, a new board of directors and a new strategic direction. Heritage Home Group launches with truly iconic brands, a solid financial structure and access to KPS’ financial resources and expertise.”

And what remained of Furniture Brands International is now called FBI Wind Down Inc.

Former FBI chief administrative officer, general counsel and corporate secretary Meredith Graham, 41, is leading FBI Wind Down as it closes its books and ties up loose ends.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com