Steinhoff International Holdings, the majority owner of Houston-based Mattress Firm through a related business, said it is considering taking the company public, among other options.
Such a move could once again make the nation’s largest bedding specialty retailer a stand-alone public company and would follow a tumultuous period under Steinhoff ownership that started with a $3.8 billion acquisition of the then 3,600+ store Mattress Firm in 2016 following years of an overly aggressive growth strategy and then a Chapter 11 filing in 2018 that helped push the South Africa-based Steinhoff to the brink of collapse. (Late last year, Markus Jooste the former CEO of Steinhoff, called its Mattress Firm acquisition one of the company’s two biggest mistakes before he and three associates were fined for insider trading.) Mattress Firm emerged from bankruptcy protection later the same year as a downsized, but still giant operation.
With more than 2,300 stores, Mattress Firm, now led by CEO John Eck, is 50.1% owned by Steinhoff Group, which includes subsidiary companies. In a statement published on its website Aug. 31, Steinhoff said,“Mattress Firm is considering a return of share capital and has commenced evaluating a range of strategic options, including a potential public listing. The evaluation process is ongoing and no definitive decision has been taken with respect to any specific course of action.”
Business, meanwhile, has been rebounding for the retailer. According to Steinhoff’s retail business update for the fiscal nine months ended June 30, revenue at Mattress Firm’s 2,360 stores increased 29% over the same period a year ago despite a 3.7% reduction in store count.
“While Covid-19 -related restrictions continued to inhibit operations to various degrees, they were much reduced,” the company said. “Sales momentum since the end of the 2020 lockdown has continued to improve and the resulting cash position at Mattress Firm remains strong.”
In an interview with USA Today last month, Mattress Firm CEO Eck, confirmed that business had rebounded since the lockdown and that the retailer was looking at both store openings and closings to eventually end up with between 2,400 and 2,600 locations.