Restoration Hardware has rejected a takeover bid by Sears and will be bought out by a private equity firm, Catterton Partners.

The NYT DealBook Blog says:

Restoration spurned Sears’ $4.55 a share offer on Friday, saying it is not superior to the private equity firm’s offer of $4.50 a share. Restoration cited “significant uncertainties” in Sears’ bid as the reason it had decided to go with with the Catterton offer.

Sears submitted its offer on Thursday, the last day of a 35-day period for Restoration to solicit competing offers.

Sears made a $6.75-per-share offer in November, but withdrew the offer after Restoration’s shares tumbled and Catterton cut its competing bid to $4.50 a share.

(Photo:mvhargan)

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  1. thewriteguy says:

    Good thing for Restoration Hardware. Their brand and image would have been crapified by Sears.

  2. IphtashuFitz says:

    Good thing Sears didn’t take them over…

  3. laserjobs says:

    If you have your money in Catterton Partners, it is probably a good time to pull it.

  4. B says:

    Restoration Hardware? I figured they went out of business years ago.

  5. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    I remember when Sears owned Prodigy — the online service, not the
    rapper or the techno artist. I also remember how they used to say
    ‘there’s more for your life at Sears’. Sweet vestiges of a pre-9/11
    world….
    S

  6. backbroken says:

    Seems like a great economic environment to be selling $65 cabinet handles.

  7. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @backbroken: I felt so poor the only time I went into one of those stores. So that’s how the other half lives.

  8. @thewriteguy:

    Yeah. Too bad for the shareholders I guess! They were completely screwed because management failed to pounce on a great offer and now they’re so ashamed of themselves – and so convinced that nobody is minding the store – that they still won’t even bother to take the best offer on the table.

    What a bunch of morons. If you still own stock in that company, please comment and tell everyone how pissed you are at the board, who is probably out on the links discussing retirement after you lost your shirt. Also, shame on you for not being better activists.

  9. loganmo says:

    @Dead Wrestlers Society:

    That’s actually how the other half with terrible style lives.

  10. bohemian says:

    There stuff is overpriced but Sears would have been a sure kiss of death.

  11. B says:

    @bohemian: You’re right, of course. Buying overpriced crap from a trendy store is one thing, but nobody buys overpriced crap from Sears.

  12. NcSchu says:

    @loganmo: I hope you’re joking. Their stuff is pretty nice IMO. Expensive, but nice.

  13. loganmo says:

    @NcSchu:

    No-I am not joking. Their junk is full of superfolous moldings, crevices, and unnecessary add-ons. Home accessories should be clean, and simple!!

  14. ret3 says:

    I had wandered through one of these stores once, killing time while my wife shopped. We passed it on the way out of the mall, and she asked what it was. I responded,”It’s kinda like a gay Home Depot.”

  15. DeafLEGO says:

    THANK THE LORD! or is it THERE IS A GOD!

    Anyway, SEARS would have fucked it up and dragged it down like everything else they been touching lately.

  16. @ret3: it’s totally the gay Home(o) Depot. I should know.

    I’ll be very surprised if RH is still around in a year or two because, as someone pointed out above, $65 cabinet handles, $100 towel bars, and other made-in-China crap aren’t gonna do well now that the home-equity ATM has exploded.

  17. I am having trouble parsing the difference between Resto and Sharper Image. I think both have dated business models that are not well suited for a low confidence economy. While Resto doesn’t have the baggage of a crappy non-filtering air filter type product, they sell high priced stuff for homeowners much as SI sells high priced gadgets for the bored executive.

    Lemme suggest that pretty much anyone who sells home improvement junk (be it $20 cabinet pulls or more Home Despot type stuff) is gonna be in for a number of rough quarters given the subprime mortgage mess and the general downturn in the economy. Would be a good time to short Home Despot, Lowes and if you’d’ve shorted Resto a year ago, you’d be up over $2/share headed into the buyout. Not bad considering the price was over $7 as recently as December. 3 month hold on a shorting and you’d be up $2.5 a share…. Can’t hate easy money like that.

    Any rate, I dunno why anyone would want to buy a store that sells high price home junk in a potentially receding economy, particularly considering the hits the housing market has taken. A lot less home renovation with people stuck in what used to be flippable properties.

  18. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @PotKettleBlack: Well said.

    The fact that Sears would even consider buying a high-end store in a field that will obviously suffer in the coming months and years tells me that there’s really no hope for them anymore. The management is insane. I could run a company better than this.

  19. spinachdip says:

    @ADismalScience: All things being equal, you should always take the better offer and RH were stupid to take the lower offer. However, all things are never equal, and while Sears has a spotty record with its acquisitions, Catterson Partners’ very business is growing the value of its assets.

  20. gruffydd says:

    It’s overpriced AND made in China! A friend that works there told me they have to peel off all “Made in China” stickers.

  21. ARP says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: I’m still trying to figure out how to get a senior executive position at Sears. I could propose the most insane things in the world (“buy Enron, I think they’re making a comback”) and I would get a big “retention bonus” even if they fall apart.

  22. 46and2 says:

    @ARP: you’re an idiot if you think sears could buy enron. enron is levels above sears in terms of money

  23. bohemian says:

    If Restoration Hardware was a sign of the booming economy & housing market, does that make the store of the current economy the Habitat re-Store?

  24. fairywench says:

    Restoration Hardware is expensive, but if you look at the quality of their furniture, it blows away most other stuff out there. For instance, they use dovetails on their drawers, rather than just nailing or screwing the blunt edges of two sides together. That’s the kind of construction that lasts for literally hundreds of years. They also have a design edge over most other places – their things just are more aesthetically pleasing. If you don’t see a difference between their styling and IKEA, well, good for you, you can furnish your house on the cheap and be happy, but for those who do see a difference, it’s a glaring difference.

  25. econobiker says:

    @fairywench: Yeah, the folks who do Restoration Hardware are the same who put $50,000 to $100,000 into a kitchen upgrade alone. Usually they are not very recession affected but given this current environment, who knows…

  26. B says:

    @econobiker: Restoration Hardware is more for the “mere” millionaires, the same people who bought the Suburban McMansions that are now falling into foreclosure as the economy tanks. Their customer base isn’t recession proof.

  27. quail says:

    There seems to be two types of Restoration Hardware stores throughout the country. Some carry the furniture and the hard to find stuff that is quality but expensive. Others seem to just carry the expensive crap that not that many people care about. In the 90’s I lived near the former and it was a cool place to find chatchkes for the hard to buy for on your shopping list. The last one I walked into this past year was unimpressive.

    Sears tried to buy them? I don’t see where RH would fit into the Sears/K-Mart debacle. What’s the thought process over at s/k anyway?

    RH board members will surely be facing some lawsuits along the lines the Yahoo board are facing now.

  28. AnonyLawyer says:

    I actually like Sears. They have a great warranty on all of their appliances, they’re not “Home Depot expensive”, and their products are reliable. They should ditch the clothes/shoes and become more of a modern “Benny’s” if anyone remembers that New England relic..

  29. Mr. Gunn says:

    New Orleans so far has remained immune to the crash affecting the rest of the nation. We have a restoration hardware, and a bunch of new Lowe’s and Home Depots.

    Pro Tip: Check out in the outside lawn and garden to avoid being asked for your receipt.

  30. factotum says:

    How many of the commenters who are saying, “Thank [whomever] Sears didn’t buy RH,” regularly shop at either? Why do you care?

  31. FinanceGuru says:

    In some respects, Resto was doomed from the get-go. Stephen Gordon held on as CEO way beyond the time he should have brought in a professional manager to take the helm.

    Also, as someone else noted, they used to have lots of little goods they called “Discovery Items” in glass jars right around the cash wrap, and what they found is that lots of people came in, bought a $10 Discovery Item, and left.

    But, yes, their furniture is very high quality. We have a bed, dresser, and some tables from Resto and they’ve held up nicely, through three moves.