Los Angeles Business Journal

Oaktree Opens Auction for Furniture Giant

By Deborah Crowe Monday, September 9, 2013

Furniture Brands International Inc., the St. Louis owner of several well-known furniture lines, on Monday said it filed for Chapter 11 reorganization and that Oaktree Capital Management has placed an opening bid for most of its assets.

In a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Furniture Brands said it reached an agreement to sell nearly all its assets, except the Lane brand, to Oaktree in an auction process. Oaktree would provide $140 million in debtor-in-possession financing under the deal. The court must approve the plan and higher bidders could emerge.

The company owns brands including Thomasville, Broyhill, Drexel Heritage and Lane Venture, and operates the Thomasville chain of furniture stores. Already weakened by overseas competition, Furniture Brands struggled with slower sales during the recession and has not experienced the same recovery as some other home furnishings companies as the housing market recovered.

Oaktree Capital Management is the private equity arm of publicly held Oaktree Capital Group LLC, which is led by billionaires Bruce Karsh and Howard Marks.