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International Market Centers files for IPO

HIGH POINT, NORTH CAROLINA

The entity that owns a majority of the furniture showroom space in High Point plans to take the company public.

International Market Centers (IMC) earlier this week filed for an initial public offering. IMC is seeking to raise about $200 million through stock sales.

The deal would change the financial structure of IMC, which was formed in 2011 with funds from private-equity firms Bain Capital and Oaktree Capital Group. IMC owns 6.5 million sq. ft. in 13 buildings in High Point, as well as World Market Center in Las Vegas.

IMC did not make anyone available for comment, but issued a statement: “We have filed a registration statement for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We cannot comment further as we are in a quiet period mandated by the SEC.”

The leader of the entity that organizes and promotes High Point’s semi-annual furniture trade show said IMC’s plans are good news for the market and the home furnishings business in general.

“The timing of the IMC's IPO confirms that both the High Point Market and the furniture industry are on an upswing. The furniture industry should benefit from the attention this brings,” said Doug Bassett, chairman of the High Point Market Authority.

One expert on the furniture industry said IMC has been working since its inception toward the goal of an IPO.

“This has been in the planning from the very first. They were just waiting for the stock market to be right to do it,” said Jerry Epperson, a longtime furniture-industry analyst with Richmond, Virginia-based Mann, Armistead & Epperson. “This was nothing new. This wasn’t anything sudden.”

The proceeds from the IPO will be used to reduce IMC’s debt, Epperson said. “That will make for a healthier company and it will also give them the ability to make some acquisitions if they want to,” he said.

The financial structure of the company will be in the form of a Real Estate Investment Trust, according to Epperson.

“There are some tax advantages to that to the people who invest in the company,” he said. “I think it’s going to bring some additional attention to the industry, because it’s a good, healthy company, and it shows the growth this industry is having and will have. Plus, it allows people away from the furniture industry to see a business that’s healthy, well-managed and in position for growth.”


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