Bain, Related Cos. Said to Lead Group Targeting U.S. Furniture Showrooms

Bain Capital LLC and Related Cos. are leading an investor group poised to snap up furniture showrooms and capture part of the U.S. market for manufacturer trade shows, said two people with knowledge of the plan.

The investment group is in talks to buy two showrooms in North Carolina’s High Point Market, which hosts the largest home furnishing industry trade show in the world, said the people, who asked not to be named because the buyers haven’t been made public. High Point Market, which features 180 buildings with 10 million square feet (929,000 square meters) of show space, hosts two trade shows a year that each bring 80,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors, according to its website.

Bain and Related may also target two buildings at the World Market Center in Las Vegas, the people said. Lenders to those properties, which are owned by another investor group that includes Related, sued in Clark County District Court yesterday seeking the appointment of a receiver to oversee the assets. The center, which sits on 57 acres in downtown Las Vegas, hosts about 50,000 people twice annually, its website says.

By taking stakes in the two U.S. furniture expos, Bain and Related would have influence over the global merchandising market. Consumer purchases of home furnishings totaled $83.5 billion last year, according to investment bank Mann, Armistead & Epperson Ltd.

High Point Showrooms

The investment group is near an agreement to buy the International Home Furnishings Center, High Point Market’s largest showroom, for $275 million, one person said. Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. (BSET), an owner of the showroom, said in a Feb. 25 filing that Bain and Related had signed a confidentiality agreement last year regarding the purchase.

The investor group is in talks to buy the other High Point showroom from Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., a unit of Vornado Realty Trust, the people said. The group may target a third High Point property, Showplace, they said.

Related, developer of projects such as the Time Warner Center in New York, opened its first furniture showroom in Las Vegas in 2005. In addition to developing real estate, Related owns businesses including the Equinox fitness chain.

Bain, based in Boston, manages $65 billion in assets across strategies such as private equity, hedge funds and venture capital. Through its funds it owns companies such as doughnut seller Dunkin Brands Inc., Toys R Us Inc. and Gymboree Corp.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Keehner in New York at jkeehner@bloomberg.net; Jason Kelly in New York at Jkelly14@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net; David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.