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HOMEMAKER MOVES UNDER VKO UMBRELLA; HOLDING COMPANY CONTINUES TO BUILD FAMILY OF HOME FURNISHINGS SUPPLIERS.

NEW YORK-The next chapter of the Homemaker saga has begun with the acquisition of 60 percent of the company by VKO Inc.

VKO is a holding company with various properties, including, now with Homemaker, three home furnishings suppliers.

Michel Ohayon, one of the three VKO principals, explained that VKO first acquired Arley, a window and bedding supplier, in the mid-1990s. Arley then acquired American Home, a bedding ensemble supplier. Ohayon noted that VKO looks for companies that are good at what they do that, for one reason or another, have fallen on hard financial times. "We can then pick them up at the right time and the right price," Ohayon stated. "We look for value and niches."

Homemaker had declared bankruptcy last fall. In April of this year, A&M Inc., led by Arthur Millman, who was serving as Homemaker's chief executive officer at the time of the bankruptcy, bought the assets of the firm. A&M moved the company's manufacturing to a plant in Matamoras, Mexico, and its warehousing to Brownsville, Texas. It retains a showroom at 295 Fifth Avenue here.

While VKO now owns a majority of Homemaker, 40 percent is retained by current management, who also continue to serve in executive posts. Millman is president and CEO; Jeffry Vaughn is senior vice president of sales and marketing; Ed Pires is senior vice president of manufacturing; and George Holden is senior vice president of logistics and distribution. Ohayon is now Homemaker's chairman.

While manufacturing, sales and marketing continue as before for Homemaker, the internal structure, including accounting, legal and systems functions, will be handled by sister company Arley from its facilities in Brockton, Mass.

Ohayon noted that now that Homemaker has "let go of a huge infrastructure, it can concentrate on manufacturing, sales and marketing.

"We [VKO] have proven ourselves with Arley and American Home. There are synergies of design and color, and all three companies deal with the same customer base."
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Author:Herlihy, Janet
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jun 19, 2000
Words:324
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