Daily News: September 10, 2013

Furniture Brands Files for Chapter 11; Oaktree Bids for Assets

Furniture Brands International and certain of its wholly-owned subsidiaries announced that it filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company also announced that in conjunction with the filing, it is pursuing a sale process under §363 of the Bankruptcy Code. To this end, Furniture Brands has entered into an asset purchase agreement with affiliates of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Under the agreement, Oaktree will acquire substantially all of the assets of Furniture Brands except the company’s Lane business, through a court-supervised auction process, subject to bankruptcy court approval and certain other conditions. This bid will serve as a starting point for a sale process for the company, which may include other bidders. In addition, the company is engaged in a process to evaluate sale alternatives for the Lane business, and has received several indications of interest from potential acquirers. Oaktree is a leading institutional investor with deep experience working with companies in situations similar to Furniture Brands.

Furniture Brands also announced that it has received a commitment from Oaktree for $140 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, including $50 million of new liquidity. The new facility, which is subject to court approval, will enable the company to operate business uninterrupted and continue to meet its financial obligations, including the timely payment of employee wages and benefits, continued servicing of customer orders and shipments, and other obligations.

According to the bankruptcy court documents, GE Capital is agent for a group of prepetition lenders that provided an asset-based revolving credit facility with $200 maximum availability. As of the petition date, approximately $91 million was outstanding under the revolver.

“After careful consideration of a range of alternatives, we firmly believe that our Chapter 11 process represents the best long-term solution for Furniture Brands to address its liquidity challenges, strengthen its operations and continue to provide our customers with the highest quality products and service that they have come to expect from us,” said Ralph Scozzafava, chairman of the board and CEO of Furniture Brands. “Our portfolio includes some of the most well respected brands in the furniture industry, and we are pleased to be partnering with Oaktree, which has deep experience working with Furniture Brands and other companies in our industry. We are highly confident that as a result of these actions, we will protect our valuable franchise and emerge as an even stronger company.”

Alvarez and Marsal North America is acting as restructuring advisor and Paul Hastings is the company’s legal counsel.

Previously on abfjournal: Struggling Furniture Brands Taps Restructuring Advisers, August 20, 2013