New owners reveal details of High Point, Las Vegas venture
Jay McIntosh -- Furniture Today, May 3, 2011
International Market Centers CEO Bob Maricich, at the podium, speaks at a press conference in High Point Tuesday. Seated are IMC officials Tom Mitchell, Georgia Davis and Randy Eller.
HIGH POINT — Officials on Tuesday unveiled the long-awaited $1 billion deal uniting the Las Vegas and much of the High Point home furnishings showroom real estate under a single ownership and management.
The new owners said that in a series of transactions, "all assets in the portfolio have been recapitalized with significant equity investments, providing for long-term stability and creating a growth platform for the industry."
One of the High Point showroom complexes involved, Showplace, and two of the World Market Center buildings in Las Vegas have been in receivership.
The new owner, International Market Centers L.P., is majority owned by funds managed by Bain Capital Partners and a subsidiary of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. Related Cos. - an investor in the World Market Center - is a minority owner, along with Bassett Furniture and Network World Market Center and affiliates, the original WMC founders led by Jack Kashani and Shawn Samson.
The venture initially includes 13 buildings of more than 10.6 million square feet in both cities. A press release said that when the acquisitions are completed, it will own 11.5 million square feet. The larger number includes the acquisition of Showplace and related properties, which is expected to close in 60 days, officials said.
Bob Maricich, who has led the WMC, will be CEO of International Market Centers with joint headquarters in High Point and Las Vegas. Before becoming president and CEO of the WMC in 2008, he was president and CEO of manufacturer Century Furniture, where he spent 11 y ears.
Other executives of International Market Centers are:
+ Tom Mitchell, president of home furnishings. He has been president and CEO of the IHFC since 2008 and has worked in the home furnishings and trade mart business for 32 years.
+ Georgia Davis, who will lead the new venture's "strategically critical" gift industry initiative on an interim basis while a president of gift and home décor is identified. She has been a consultant to the WMC since 2007 and previously was executive vice president of the Dallas Market Center for 20 years.
+ Katherine Venezia, chief financial officer. She has overseen financial matters at the WMC since 2004 and previously was in corporate accounting with Related Cos.
+ Randy Eller, chief integration officer. He will be responsible for the transition and integration of the acquired companies into an "effective, integrated, world-class operation." He is president of Eller Enterprises and has worked for more than 30 years in the gift and home sector.
"We are confident in the future of this industry and the unprecedented platform that the combination of High Point and Las Vegas markets presents," Maricich said in a statement.
Scott Graves, managing director at Oaktree, added, "International Market Centers will create a seamless market experience on both coasts and offer significant cross-category business opportunities. The company's plans include attracting additional traffic from international buyers, enhancing marketing efforts and creating new distribution and sales channels for exhibitors."
"International Market Center's strong capital position enables it to invest in - and vastly expand - the strategically significant gift and home décor category," said Eller.
International Market Cents has set up a website at imcenters.com.
Upon closing of the various transactions, IMC will own World Market Center buildings A, B and C and the World Pavilions tents, and High Point holdings including the IHFC and:
• Historic Market Square
• Market Square Tower
• Suites at Market Square
• Plaza Suites
• Furniture Plaza
• National Furniture Mart
• Hamilton Market
• 300 South Main
• Showplace West
• 200 N. Hamilton
• 320 N. Hamilton
• 330 N. Hamilton
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