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IHFC owners complete $275 million sale of High Point complex

Bassett to be minority owner in High Point, Las Vegas mega-showroom venture

Bassett Furniture Inds. said Tuesday it has completed the sale of its stake in the International Home Furnishings Center, and confirmed that it will be a minority partner in a new entity that owns two major High Point showroom complexes and the World Market Center in Las Vegas.

The company said the new owner, International Market Centers, L.P., now controls 10 million square feet of showroom space in the two cities, including the IHFC and the Market Square complex in High Point.

Bassett said the total value of the sale of its 46% stake in the IHFC was $275 million, including the assumption of $100 million in debt. The remaining $175 million will be distributed in cash to the IHFC's owners, and Bassett said it should realize a $74 million pre-tax distribution.

In turn, Bassett said it invested $2.4 million in exchange for a minority stake in IMC.

The majority owners of IMC are the investment firms of Bain Capital and Oaktree Capital Management. Joining Bassett as minority investors are the Related Companies, one of the original backers of the World Market Center, and an entity called Network World Market Center.

"This transaction represents a successful conclusion to (our original) investment and is a testimony to the sound management practices employed by the IHFC leadership and its associates, especially in a difficult period for the home furnishings industry," said Rob Spilman Jr., Bassett's president and CEO. "Despite the fact that most of its competitors were in financial disarray, the IHFC has remained profitable throughout the recession."

"On behalf of Bassett and its partners, I thank current and former IHFC management and associates for a job well done. I feel confident that as part of the newly formed International Market Centers, L.P. that the IHFC will carry on its longstanding tradition as the world's most successful home furnishings wholesale showroom entity," he added.

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