Berkline Benchcraft closing all operationsMORRISTOWN, TN

-- Berkline Benchcraft will liquidate its assets and close down business. The Citizen Tribune says the 540-employee furniture manufacturer had been seeking a buyer since January, but was unable to do so.

Berkline, 70 percent owned by Sun Capital Partners, was exploring  strategic alternatives to sell itself as an ongoing concern, but was unsuccessful. Berkline manufactures upholstered furniture and markets recliners and other motion furniture under the Berkline  brand and stationary seating under the BenchCraft line.

In 2007, Sun Capital Partners acquired a controlling interest in Berkline BenchCraft Holdings, LLC in a recapitalization that  exchanged $40 million of outstanding debt for new equity securities and new financing. To trim costs, Berkline closed or consolidated operations at four factories and increased outsourcing and offshore production. In 2009, Sun Capital appointed Bob Burch president of Berkline, replacing Bill Wittenburg.

Berkline was founded in 1928 by Jacob Popkin in Springfield, MA; in 1937, it expanded to Morristown, TN and moved its headquarters there.

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