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From Home Furnishing Business

Berkline Added To Furniture Companies In Sun Capital’s Orbit

By Home Furnishings Business in Upholstery on May 2007 Expanding its holdings in the furniture industry, Sun Capital Partners, Boca Raton, Fla., announced Friday that one of its affiliates has acquired a controlling interest in Berkline/Benchcraft, Morristown, Tenn. Terms of the sale that gives Sun Capital a 70 percent controlling interest in the motion upholstery company were not disclosed.

The transaction is part of a recapitalization that will provide for an exchange of approximately $40 million in outstanding debt for new equity securities, as well as new financing for Berkline. Over the past nine month, Berkline has reduced its cost structure by consolidating operations at four manufacturing plants, employing more efficient sourcing and rationalizing product offerings.

William Wattenberg, president and CEO of Berkline/Benchcraft, said in an announcement, €œWe are very pleased to be partnering with Sun Capital and believe that the combination of Sun Capital€™s financial resources and extensive operating experience in the furniture industry will support our efforts to refocus on our core competencies and to fund Berkline€™s ongoing product innovation and expansion.€

Philip Brown, Sun Capital€™s vice president said, €œBerkline is an innovator and leader in motion furniture. We look forward to working with Berkline€™s management team and its dedicated employees to assist them in building a solid platform for strengthening the company€™s brands.€

Earlier this year, Sun Capital acquired another upholstery manufacturer, Rowe Furniture, as well as Powell, a home accents and furniture producer. Those deals added to Sun Capital€™s extensive furniture holdings, which include Lexington Home Brands and Wickes, an Illinois-based retail chain.

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