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Another potential bidder emerges for Furniture Brands

WILMINGTON, Del. — A new potential bidder for Furniture Brands International assets, which would include the purchase of the company's Lane business, emerged at a bankruptcy hearing here Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

KPS Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, said it would offer an alternative to a Furniture Brands plan to sell most of the manufacturer and retailer's assets - excluding Lane - to Oaktree Capital Management affiliates, which has offered $166 million.

Furniture Brands, the parent of Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville and other furniture businesses, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday after years of financial troubles.

The Journal story KPS also offered an alternative interim financing deal to Oaktree's proposed $140 million package, which would pay off lenders and provide up to $50 million to fund Furniture Brands' operations. Oaktree, in turn, agreed at the hearing to "certain concessions, including cutting the interest rate, fees and milestones" on the bankruptcy loan, the Journal said.

Oaktree also agreed to "backstop" the sale of Lane for $49 million, a Furniture Brands lawyer said at the hearing. In its Sept. 9 bankruptcy filing, Furniture Brands said it expected to sell the Lane assets within 30 days, although it didn't identify a buyer or say whether the company was likely to remain operating.

A KPS Capital lawyer, Mark Thomas, said his firm wants to buy an ongoing manufacturer, including Lane.

"We're interested, but not if there's going to be a liquidation of the Lane business," he told the court.

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi granted interim approval to Oaktree's $140 million financing package and will consider its deal to buy the Furniture Brands assets next month, the Journal reported.

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