As a transformational merger between two office furniture giants heads for final approval, the details of their seven-month courtship offer insight into a deal that could change the industry’s landscape. The pending deal, which is up for shareholder votes at both companies on July 13, was the result of back-and-forth proposals that began in December 2020 and nearly fell apart because of eleventh-hour renegotiations just four days before news of the merger became public.
Meanwhile, the blockbuster deal developed several months into a global pandemic that threatened to shake the foundation of the office furniture industry as employees worked remotely en masse. As shareholders at both companies prepare to vote on the deal, Herman Miller now seeks to address any new dynamics that may emerge.
“This shows a lot of confidence by Herman Miller in the future of the furniture industry, which is an industry that was hit significantly by COVID in general,” said Elisa Berger, vice president of Grand Rapids-based M&A and investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners, which specializes in working with clients in the contract furniture space.
“Ask someone in March or April of 2020 what the office furniture industry was going to look like in the next five years, and I don’t think anyone would be confident in their answer,” Berger said. “For me, this is a signal that Herman Miller sees a future in this industry.” Read More