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It's Chapter 11 and business as usual at Simmons

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JAMES P. LEUTE
November 17, 2009
— Production will continue as usual at Simmons Co. in Janesville after the company's filing Monday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Atlanta-based maker of Beautyrest mattresses followed through on plans announced in September to file for bankruptcy as it gets new owners and lowers its debt.


Simmons employs about 250 who work over two shifts at its Janesville plant.


Monday's filing involves the company's parents, Simmons Co. and Bedding Holdco Inc., along with all of its domestic subsidiaries. The filings do not include Simmons' Canadian and Puerto Rican operations.


Under the pre-packaged plan, Simmons will continue normal operations throughout the Chapter 11 process. The company's senior secured bank lenders, trade vendors, suppliers and employees will be paid in full.


Simmons expects to emerge from Chapter 11 within 60 days.


"(Monday's) filings are a necessary step toward the successful conclusion of our financial restructuring," said Steve Fendrich, Simmons' president and chief operating officer. "We do not anticipate any changes in our daily operations as a result of this filing. Our manufacturing plants will operate as usual, and our customers should continue to expect the same great service and quality they have received prior to and during this restructuring process."


Fendrich said the plan will allow Simmons to cut its debt from about $1 billion to $450 million, resulting in a balance sheet and increased financial flexibility.


The plan provides for the acquisition of Simmons by affiliates of Ares Management and Teachers' Private Capital, the private investment department of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.


"We have received tremendous support from our stakeholders throughout this process," Fendrich said. "This demonstration of confidence in the solid fundamentals of our business is due in no small part to our employees and our dealers, whom I wish to thank again for their continued dedication to our business."


Simmons is one of the world's largest mattress manufacturers. It operates 19 conventional bedding manufacturing facilities and one juvenile bedding manufacturing plant across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.


Thomas H. Lee Partners currently owns Simmons. Ares, and Ontario Teachers will be the mattress maker's sixth private-equity owner in 23 years.



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