Simmons poised for new ownership
JANESVILLE Simmons Bedding, which operates its largest plant in Janesville, is expected to have a new owner by the end of this year.
The Boston-based private equity firm of Advent International said Sunday it would buy a majority interest in AOT Bedding Super Holdings, the parent company of both Simmons and Serta, which together account for nearly 30 percent of the U.S. mattress market.
If the deal goes through, Advent will be the seventh private equity firm to own the Atlanta-based Simmons in 26 years.
Terms of the deal were not announced, but people familiar with the sale told Reuters the transaction valued AOT Bedding at about $3 billion, including debt.
The Simmons plant on Adel Street in Janesville employs 249 people. The company has 18 other manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Current owners Ares Management and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan will retain a minority equity stake in the company. They acquired the company in 2009 as the result of bankruptcy proceedings involving former owner Thomas H. Lee Partners.
As for the impact of the pending sale on the Janesville plant, questions were directed to a company spokesperson in New York, who did not return phone calls to The Gazette.
"Over the past two years, we have invested significant resources to better understand and then meet the needs and preferences of our customers," Gary Fazio, Simmons' chief executive officer, said in a news release. "We are thrilled to be working with the team at Advent, as well as our existing investors, to continue to gain market share by providing superior products and customer support."
Advent officials said they are pleased to acquire Simmons and Serta, which they characterized as two companies with strong momentum in an industry that's poised for growth after a severe downturn in the housing and bedding industries.
"Our strategy going forward is to continue to grow the businesses by ensuring that Serta and Simmons remain focused on delivering high quality mattresses that help people sleep better," Steven Collins, Advent's managing director, said in the release.
Simmons and Serta will continue to be managed jointly by the board of directors of their holding company and will continue to maintain separate sales, marketing, merchandising and customer-specific product design functions.
The companies typically will go to market separately, although there could be instances where they work together with dealers to achieve cost efficiencies.
Advent is one of the world's most active investors in the retail and consumer sector, having invested in 10 companies in the last five years.