What’s going on at the top level of the office furniture industry these days? Several of the largest and best-known manufacturers have made strategic acquisitions over the past year. Let’s take a look at who’s buying who and why.
Knoll Ventures Outside
Knoll acquired an outdoor furniture manufacturer, Richard Schultz Design, in March of this year. In some sense, this is really a re-acquisition of a talent that had its inception in the Knoll family. Schultz started out as a Knoll designer before launching his own business in 1992. As a former employee, he certainly knows the Knoll brand and their expectations for excellence. In fact, the Richard Schultz Design company continued to carry a number of designs originally created for Knoll in the 1960s including the Petal Table Collection. Now that the Schultz family (Richard and his son Peter) are rejoining the Knoll fold, they bring a strong commercial and residential consumer base with them. It’s a great example of a friendly takeover where everyone wins.
Herman Miller Heads East
In even more recent news, Herman Miller announced the acquisition of POSH Office Systems, Ltd in early April. It’s the opposite of the kind of local deal struck by Knoll with its former designer. Herman Miller has actually reached out across the globe to absorb this Hong Kong firm. POSH is a well-established name in the Chinese commercial furniture market with yearly revenues of about $60 million. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes its own line of furnishings. These factors make POSH a turnkey operation that Herman Miller can expect to start appreciating profits from immediately. The former POSH stakeholders are counting on continued success for the business once it changes hands. In fact, they’ve bet quite a bit on this outcome since a performance based payment is still owed based on an earn-out period after closing. The two companies have been working together since 2008 and HM expects that even more of their flagship brand products will now be sold in the Chinese market.