High Point’s International Home Furnishings Center will soon be under new ownership that includes a major World Market Center Las Vegas investor, the Winston-Salem Journal recently reported. The same group is also in talks to purchase the buildings owned by Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., according to Furniture Today.
IHFC’s largest stakeholder, Bassett Furniture Industries Inc., revealed that the IHFC stakeholders had agreed to a stock deal in late February with IHFC Acquisition Co. LLC, a group that includes The Related Cos. LP, an investor in the World Market Center. The identity of the other investors is still a mystery, and companies on both sides signed a confidentiality agreement in October. According to Furniture Today, IHFC’s holdings will be sold for $275 million, including the assumption of debt.
The other stakeholders in IHFC are Lincoln National Group and a charitable foundation formed by the late Randall Terry, former Publisher of the High Point Enterprise.
IHFC Acquisition Co. has also filed a proposal to purchase MMPI’s properties for $139.5 million, according to Furniture Today. MMPI owns 2 million square feet of showroom space in High Point, including Market Square, the National Furniture Mart, Hamilton Market and several other buildings.
These recent developments have fueled rumors that the IHFC, MMPI and Showplace Properties will be sold to the owners of the World Market Center. Property owners at both markets have financial troubles, as MMPI and Showplace are both in receivership, and World Market Center has defaulted on mortgages for its A and B buildings, according to Furniture Today.
As a part of the IHFC deal, Bassett must sign a five-year lease at the World Market Center. April 29 is the predicted closing date for the deal, shortly after the spring High Point Market, which runs April 2-7.
The High Point Market Authority did not wish to comment on the matter, and representatives at IHFC, MMPI and Showplace could not be reached for comment.