Knoll to Acquire Luxury Design Brand HOLLY HUNT

BusinessWeek and Crain’s
Monday February 3, 2014

Knoll, Inc. and Holly Hunt Enterprises, Inc. today announced that Knoll, Inc. has acquired the Chicago-based luxury design brand HOLLY HUNT through an acquisition of all the outstanding equity of Holly Hunt Enterprises, Inc. and related entities. The acquisition advances the Knoll strategy of building its global capability as a go-to resource for high design workplaces and homes, including the commercial contract, decorator to-the-trade and consumer markets.

Andrew Cogan, Knoll CEO, stated, "Like our co-founder Florence Knoll, Holly Hunt is one of the icons of our industry who consistently elevates the level of design in her chosen markets. She is an arbiter of refined taste, and we have been longtime fans of her work and curatorial eye."

"We believe as a custodian of her eponymous brand that we can help Holly and her seasoned team accelerate the brand's growth both domestically and internationally, while leveraging assets we already have in place," he added. Commenting on the transaction, Holly Hunt said, "Knoll has a long and deep history with a terrific reputation for modern design and superb quality. Knoll is an ideal partner to assure the continued growth of our brand. We share Knoll's commitment to design and luxury furnishings that enrich interior space."

Founded in 1983, HOLLY HUNT has grown into the premier high design residential showroom resource and provider of furnishings, lighting, textiles and leathers for architects and interior designers. With 2013 revenues of $94.0 million and double digit operating margins, Holly Hunt and her team have built a singular brand reputation for design excellence in North America and abroad.

Mr. Cogan continued, "We estimate the global market for luxury home furnishings and coverings to exceed the market for contract furnishings and believe it offers significant opportunity for further consolidation and growth as the number of affluent, design savvy consumers expands globally. The acquisition of HOLLY HUNT accelerates our high design residential and consumer strategy and opens up new sources of revenue that complement our existing Office and Specialty businesses." Holly Hunt, who will remain as CEO of HOLLY HUNT and continue to work with her talented team, will report directly to Mr. Cogan. She will also serve as an advisor to Knoll on the company's high design residential strategy. David Schutte, Knoll's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, will join HOLLY HUNT as President; his addition to the team will allow Ms. Hunt to focus her time and talent fully on design and creative strategy. Mr. Cogan added, "As with our other Specialty businesses, we are committed to the operational independence of HOLLY HUNT and its unique brand and cultural identity. All of us at Knoll look forward to working with Holly and her team in the years ahead."

"Not since Florence Knoll herself has there been such an iconic woman design leader in furniture and textiles as Holly Hunt" said Viscusi, headhunter and close personal friend of Holly Hunt. This is the best move Knoll has made in years! It will help their stock and brand. "The Viscusi Group recruited Dan Campbell, Senior VP of Sales to Holly Hunt, and he has helped Holly grow sales and build an incredibly strong brands", Viscusi went on to say. "Holly Hunt had been a Viscusi Group client and friend for over 20 years". She is the "Martha Stewart of our industry" Viscusi said, who just saw Ms. Hunt during Art Basel.

The acquisition of HOLLY HUNT for $95.0 million in cash, plus contingent future payments dependent on the performance of the business over the next three years, is expected to be immediately accretive. Knoll estimates it will receive future tax benefits with a present value of approximately $20.0 million as a result of the transaction.

"Holly Hunt's Midwest sensibilities along with global sales and a stellar reputation, now in the hands of a NYC publicly traded company, is a compelling combination. if I were Rachel Kohler, of Kohler and Baker fame--or Steelcase or Haworth, I would be kicking myself for not making the move on Holly Hunt first. They could all use the "pop" of the Holly Hunt brand. And it would have been the perfect complement to any of their existing furniture divisions" Viscusi went on to say.

Following the acquisition, approximately 40% of Knoll revenues will come from outside the North American office market. The financial results for HOLLY HUNT will be reported as part of the Knoll, Inc. Studio segment.