Norwalk Furniture deal may be in the works

NORWALK Leave it to the locals to save the day. In a surprise announcement Monday aft
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



Leave it to the locals to save the day.

In a surprise announcement Monday afternoon, NorwalkFurniture's chief restructuring officer Jim McTevia said new buyers for the dissolved furniture company have emerged.

McTevia said several hundred manufacturing jobs could result from an acquisition -- but that would ultimately be left to the owners.

"The buyer has put a deposit down, and the legal paper is in the process of being drawn out," he said Monday evening. "The deal could close as early as tomorrow."

The down payment on the company "was very substantial," McTevia said. He refused toelaborate on the amount.

While declining to release the name of the buyers, McTevia said they are a group of Norwalk-area business people committed to keeping the company alive and fruitful.

Stopping just short ofdenouncing the last two private equity firms that pulled out of negotiations to buy the company -- Blackbird Capital Partners and IRG Capital Group -- McTevia said these buyers are actuallycommitted to preserving jobs in the Maple City.

"This is a group that I've been working with for two weeks ... and all I can tell you is they're a bunch of local people and they're dedicated to opening that plant," he said. "They want the plant back operating, and they want the jobs. They have a different goal than other people who were interested in buying it."

Comerica is the company's bank, and was blamed by IRG Capital officials for the failure of the last deal. Charles Rowe Jr., president of IRG Capital, said the bank erected so many loops through which investors had to jump to make the purchase that they eventually had to call it quits.

That evidently isn't a problem this time around.

"Comerica is solidly behind this purchase," McTevia said.

Norwalk Furniture officials said more information would be available within 24 hours.