Art Van Furniture sells to private equity – Detroit Free Press
Art Van Furniture willÂ sell itself to a private equity firm after 58 years of ownership byÂ its founder.
TheÂ Warren-based retailerÂ announced this morning aÂ tentative deal to sell to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a private equity firmÂ in Boston. The deal is slated to close in February; the sale price was not disclosed.
Art Van Furniture was started in 1959 with a single store on Gratiot Avenue in what is now Eastpointe. FounderÂ Art Van ElslanderÂ has remained the chairman and soleÂ shareholder of the furniture and bedding company.
Today Art Van is one ofÂ the largest independent furniture retailers in the country with more than 100 stores in five states, a franchising program and over 3,500 employees. The company’s current executive team will stay on after the sale, including Art Van CEOÂ Kim Yost,Â presidentÂ Gary Van Elslander and DavidÂ Van Elslander, theÂ president of Art VanÂ PureSleep.
“I am proud of Art Van Furnitureâs history and what we have accomplished,”Â Art Van Elslander said in a statement. “The time for an ownership transition is right and the opportunity presented itself. There is still much I want to do, and I feel confident knowing the company and its people will be in the very best of hands for continued growth and success.â
Although private equity deals sometimes entail cost-cutting moves and store closures, Art Van’s future owner is actually planingÂ toÂ keep expanding the retailer’sÂ store count and employees, said Gary Van Elslander, the eldest of Art Van Elslander’s 10 children.
“The trajectory is going to continue to be upward, and maybe even at a faster pace,”Â Gary Van Elslander said.
Jeff Swenson, managing director at Thomas H. Lee Partners, said his firm will help move Art Van Furniture into its next growth phase.
âOver nearly six decades, the company has continuously realized Mr. Vanâs vision and set the standard for excellence in furniture retail in the Midwest,” Swenson said in the announcement. “We look forward to working with the entire team at Art Van as we continue to aggressively grow this outstanding brand.â
Thomas H. Lee Partners was started in 1974 and hasÂ acquired several hundred companies through the years, mostly in consumer goods, health care andÂ financial services. Its current companies includeÂ Snapple, Dunkin’ Donuts,Â Safelite Glass andÂ MoneyGram.
More details of the pending sale and future plans for Art Van are expected this afternoon.