Corber Corp. to acquire Robert Allen Group

Carole Sloan, February 11, 2002

The Robert Allen Group, a division of LifeStyle Furnishings International Ltd., is being sold to Corber Corp., an equity investment company in the manufacturing and service sectors.

The Robert Allen Group (RAG), an investment company which includes Robert Allen, Beacon Hill Fabrics, Robert Allen Contract, Robert Allen @ Home, Ametex and the Beacon Hill showrooms, has revenues of about $240 million, according to market estimates.

RAG operates 18 designer Robert Allen showrooms in North America and one in London. There are 13 Beacon Hill showrooms. The Robert Allen showrooms market both Robert Allen and Beacon Hill fabrics, while the Beacon Hill showrooms offer furniture and accessories.

Ametex and Robert Allen @ Home market decorative fabrics to the retail, furniture, and manufactured products industries.

In Europe, RAG products are sold by a combined company that include high-end Ramm, Son & Crocker with offices outside of London and a showroom in Chelsea Design Center.

Ron Cordover, head of the family-owned, Wayne, NJ-based RAG told Home Textiles Today, "We've had a continually friendly relationship with both Masco and LifeStyle management, and we're just delighted to get back into the home design and furnishings business."

Cordover was the owner of Berkline Furniture, a major furniture producer, which was sold to Masco Home Furnishings in 1994. Last year, LifeStyle Furnishings, the successor company to Masco Home Furnishings, began divesting itself of its various units. Masco Home Furnishings sold a majority of its ownership to the division's management backed by Citicorp Venture Capital Fund.

Under Cordover's leadership, Berkline grew from a $80 million dollar company in 1988 to triple that in the mid-1990s, when it was sold.

Robert Allen Group was initially American Textiles, founded by Ben Weissman and headed by brothers Allen Wyatt and Bob Weissman, who sold it to Masco after establishing Ametex as a converter and Robert Allen as the designer showroom fabric source.

"Corber plans to work with existing Robert Allen and Beacon Hill management to explore strategic initiatives to gain market share and use the company's unique brand strategies to expand its channels of distribution," said Jeffrey Cordover, vp, RAG.

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