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Bush Industries name will vanish after sale

Bush Industries, the Jamestown furniture maker, has changed hands again.

Bush was acquired by Bestar, a rival ready-to-assemble furniture maker owned by Novacap, a Canadian private equity firm. The sale price was about $160 million.

Bush had been owned by a Buffalo-based private equity firm, Lorraine Capital, since mid-2018. Bush has nearly 300 employees in Jamestown, among about 400 companywide.

Lorraine wasn't looking to sell Bush so soon after acquiring the business, but was approached by Bestar, said William Maggio, Lorraine's managing partner.

"Bush has just performed beyond our expectations. There could not be a better partner, I think, given Bestar's business model, given Bush's business model and their strengths. It really is a great combination."

Maggio said the deal is also a good outcome for Bush's employees and the Jamestown area.

"The acquiring company is committed to Jamestown, is committed to that facility for the long term, which is completely aligned to what our mission is at Lorraine Capital," he said. "We want to invest in upstate New York companies, legacy businesses, with the sole intention of working hard to try to keep those jobs and grow those businesses right here in our home state."

William Maggio (left), shown in 2018 with Jim Garde, then the CEO of Bush Industries. (provided photo)

Maggio, who has stepped down as Bush's executive chairman, said it was also a positive sign that Bush's president and CEO, Mike Evans, will continue to serve in those roles for the combined company.

"I give all the credit to Mike Evans, and his management team and all the wonderful employees at Bush," Maggio said.

Bush, which will now go by the Bestar name, has gone through highs and lows since its founding in 1959. The company thrived through the late 1990s, then hit hard times, reorganizing through bankruptcy in 2004, and returning to local ownership through a management buyout in 2014. Then came the acquisition by Lorraine about a year and a half ago.

Bush’s customers include small businesses, homes and home offices. Its products can be packaged for shipment via UPS or FedEx for quick delivery. Maggio said even the furniture industry has been transformed by e-commerce, and that ready-to-assemble furniture like Bush's suits what customers demand.

"To be competitive, I think, online in the furniture business, it has to be in the (ready-to-assemble) space," he said. "People still expect to receive a dining room table in three days like they do a pair of shoes."

Frederick Perrault, senior partner at Novacap and chairman of Bestar's board, echoed that point.

"Bestar's and Bush's leadership teams see a significant and fast-growing market opportunity for furniture sold online and shipped directly to the end consumer," he said. "This emerging business model provides furniture consumers a convenient, rapid and affordable shopping solution."

The combined company will revenues of about $200 million and over 600 employees.

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