MONTRÉAL – Canadian RTA furniture manufacturer Bestar has acquired Bush Industries, a longtime manufacturer of RTA home office and residential case goods based in Jamestown, New York.

Details of the acquisition, announced Jan. 14, were not provided. The two companies have more than 130 years of combined history in the RTA furniture industry and consolidated sales of approximately $200 million USD (approximately $260 million CAD). Bestar is a portfolio company of private equity firm Novacap.

Bush and Bestar are ranked in the FDMC 300, a group of the 300 largest cabinet, furniture, millwork, store fixture, office/contract and component producers in North America, published annually by FDMC magazine.

A joint statement by the two companies said they will "leverage each other's strengths to continue and accelerate their current growth," including in e-commerce sales and marketing.

Bestar's offerings include wallbeds and closet systems, in addition to RTA commercial and home office and residential furniture. Photo: Bestar.ca website.

"Bestar's goal is to concentrate their efforts on an e-commerce solution for Home/Office Furniture," said Frederick Perrault, senior partner at Novacap, and chairman of the board of Bestar. "Bestar's and Bush's leadership teams see a significant and fast-growing market opportunity for furniture sold online and shipped directly to the end consumer. This emerging business model provides furniture consumers a convenient, rapid and affordable shopping solution."

Michael Evans, Bush president and CEO, will serve in the same role for the combined entity.

"While we will see some savings from efficiencies once the companies are integrated, our main objective for the combination will be to further expand our product assortment, leverage our nationwide quick shipping capabilities, and our global manufacturing and sourcing footprint to further accelerate the rapid growth we are both experiencing," Evans said. "Our customers will see little to no change in direction as we move forward. We will continue on our rapid pace of new product and category introductions. We will continue to hone and speed up our distribution services and we will add supplementary warehouse locations during 2020 in order to answer our client's needs," he added.

Founded in 1959 and headquartered in Jamestown, New York, Bush has manufacturing operations in New York, Pennsylvania, California and China. The company designs, produces and distributes home and commercial office, entertainment, bedroom, storage, seating, occasional and entryway furniture, with brands including Bush Furniture, BBF (Bush Business Furniture), Office by Kathy Ireland, and Kathy Ireland Home by Bush Furniture. The company was purchased by New York-based private equity firm Lorraine Capital in 2018.

Founded in 1948, Bestar has manufacturing facilities in Lac-Mégantic and Sherbrooke, Quebec, and is a designer, manufacturer, distributor and online seller of commercial office, home office, storage, bedroom, closet and home organization, tables and garage storage furniture across North America.

Headquarters for the newly combined Bestar-Bush group will be in Sherbrooke. Together, the companies employ more than 600 people, including more than 200 in Canada.

The transaction is supported by Desjardins Capital and Fonds de solidarité, which are becoming shareholders in the new Bestar-Bush group.

Bestar has been part of the Novacap portfolio since 2017. Other industry-related firms in Novacap's portfolio include Foliot Furniture (2019) and Kingsdown mattress (2017).  Founded in 1981, Novacap is a leading Canadian private equity firm with $3.6 billion of assets under management. The company has offices in Toronto, Ontario and Brossard, Quebec.

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