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Jasper Group and Jofco considering a merger

Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Jasper Group and Jofco are investigating a merger between these two Southern Indiana companies. According to a joint statement, the two companies have signed a letter of intent to investigate a merger.
According to the companies, there will be a 30 to 60 day due diligence period to confirm the transaction and develop a plan of action after the execution of the merger agreement. The goal is to have the merger process concluded by the end of the year, the press release says.
The merger seems to be a good fit. The companies have a wide range of complimentary products and geographically, sit a brisk walk away from each other in Jasper, Ind., the southern Midwest hub of the office furniture industry.
Mergers are almost never a true marriage of equals. The plan calls for the Jofco brand to continue operations with its own sales team, field sales representatives and customer service as part of the Jasper Group organization. “Together we hope to invest substantial resources creating a synergistic partnership that drives profitability all around”, according to the release.
Both companies have long, rich histories with common roots among the white oak, walnut and other hardwoods that covered the hills surrounding Jasper. German immigrants skilled in the art of woodworking settled the area in the early 1800s. The railroad’s arrival in 1879 opened Jasper’s markets to the rest of the country and more than 11 office furniture makers began operations there.
Jofco began as Jasper Office Furniture Company in 1922 and is in its 4th generation as a privately-held, family-owned company. Jofco presently operates two production facilities in Jasper with more than 600,000 square feet of production capacity. Jofco also has a permanent showroom facilities in Chicago and New York. Bill Rubino is the president and chief executive officer of the company. The companies did not outline whether or not he will stay with the combined companies and if so, what his position will be.
Jasper Seating Co., which later became Jasper Group, was founded in 1929 by seven prominent Jasper businessmen who created a new company dedicated to building school chairs, office chairs and office furniture. The first line of chairs to be produced was named the 400 Line and was designed to “meet the demand for an economical, substantially built chair”. The chair that launched the company was a huge success and the original 400 Line is still available today as the Americana Series.

Towards the end of the 20th century, Jasper Seating Company was strategically positioned to expand its offerings and did so by entering into the casegoods and hospitality markets. At this time the company also decided to differentiate between its institutional products and its office products. The institutional offering was to be marketed under the Community brand name. Jasper Seating Company became JSI and continued to market contract seating and casegoods. Klem joined the corporation, rounding out the hospitality segment. There are now three distinct brands serving corporate, education, government, health care and hospitality environments. (Reprinted from the Monday Morning Quarterback)

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