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Steelcase to acquire U.K. manufacturer for $79 million

BY MiBiz Staff Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:14am

GRAND RAPIDS — Office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. is expanding its stable of alternative workplace furniture designs.

The Grand Rapids-based Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) today announced that it was acquiring the outstanding stock of U.K.-based Orangebox Group Limited for the equivalent of $79 million.

Orangebox, which makes alternatives to traditional seating and architectural privacy pods, currently employs more than 450 people, according to its website. A statement announcing the deal with Steelcase indicated the company generated £69 million in revenues over a 12-month period through August.

Steelcase is paying for the transaction with debt from its unsecured revolving credit facility, according to an SEC filing.

Hengoed, Wales-based Orangebox had its roots within Steelcase. Founders Pete Hurley and Mino Vernaschi led a management buyout of a Steelcase manufacturing operation that also produced various products under license for Swiss furniture maker Giroflex, according to the company’s website. Orangebox also later acquired Giroflex’s U.K. portfolio.

For Steelcase, the deal provides more lines of “unique furniture designed to boost collaboration at work,” according to a statement.

“We saw how Orangebox approached the changing landscape at work and their early recognition that more people want alternatives to the traditional desk, and to work in a range of postures,” stated Allan Smith, vice president of global marketing at Steelcase. “They understood people’s need for balance between privacy at work, and the shift toward high-performance team work.”  

Steelcase hopes to use its scale and distribution channels to double the Orangebox business over the next five years. Orangebox will become an independent subsidiary of Steelcase, and maintain its own brand. The company said it will continue to use its existing dealer channels, as well as Steelcase’s dealer network.

The deal is the third for Steelcase since November 2017. Previously, the company acquired AMQ Solutions for $69.9 million and signed a definitive agreement to acquire Texas-based education furniture maker Smith Systems for $145 million.

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