Vi-Spring acquiring 51% stake in E.S. Kluft & Co.
David Perry -- Furniture Today, July 5, 2013
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — High-end British bedding maker Vi-Spring is acquiring a 51% stake in E.S. Kluft & Co., based here, and will merge its North American operations with Kluft.
Earl Kluft, the founder and CEO of E.S. Kluft & Co., will be the CEO of the combined North American company and has signed a long-term contract to remain in that role. The companies will continue selling and marketing their brands separately with their own product portfolios, officials said.
The deal will strengthen Vi-Spring's presence in North America, and it gives the Flex Group of Spain, which owns Vi-Spring, a more prominent position on the North American bedding landscape.
The deal will expand Kluft's leadership in the U.S. luxury segment and enhance its international presence by leveraging the existing retailer network of Vi-Spring, which has operations in Europe, Asia and North America, and its parent company, the Flex Group of Madrid, Spain, which has a strong presence in southern Europe and Latin America, officials said.
All employees of both companies in North America will be retained, including Kluft's U.S. President of Sales David Binke and Senior Vice President of Operations Ron Bruneau, and Vi-Spring North America Director Terence Bachor, who will remain in his role managing Vi-Spring in the USA and Canada. All will report to Kluft.
"For many years I have admired English luxury beds, particularly Vi-Spring, that I believe really has no peers when it comes to their excellent quality and craftsmanship," Kluft said. "I see this as an opportunity for both of us to grow our brands worldwide. Combined, we now will be able to claim both Bloomingdale's and Harrod's as our company's flagship stores."
He added, "The transaction will enable us to have a much wider range of exciting luxury products and additional options in our combined portfolio for retailers and consumers in the North American market. This will absolutely facilitate far greater international expansion."
"We have known Earl for many years and respect the quality and high standards that he has brought to our industry," said Vi-Spring Managing Director Mike Meehan. "Together, we shall make an exciting team. For Vi-Spring and the Flex Group, this is a strategic move as we will accelerate our growth in the American market with the help of a very reputable U.S. company and compete internationally with a great portfolio of luxury brands. Integrating the North American operations will generate significant operational savings in back office and logistics, yet offer retailers and consumers the widest and most differentiated range of prestigious luxury beds."
The new organization will boost Vi-Spring's presence in North America, where it opened its first retailer three years ago. The company, founded in 1901 in London, has operations in the Europe, Asia and North America. Vi-Spring has always been associated with traditional craftsmanship, the finest natural materials, and the most exclusive retailers, officials said.
The Flex Group operates in a number of international markets with commercial and industrial operations. The group recently opened a new plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and expanded its production capacity in Chile. In Europe, the group is a market leader in Portugal with Molaflex and in the premium segment worldwide with Vi-Spring and And So To Bed, a luxury bed retailer in the United Kingdom.
Kluft is a third-generation mattress manufacturer who founded E.S. Kluft & Co. and bought Aireloom in 2004. Its broad range of luxury mattresses are produced in California and Pennsylvania facilities and sold under the Kluft and Aireloom brands in 350 retailers in the United States and internationally.
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