Historically a leader in the contract market, Herman Miller last week announced a bid to purchase Design Within Reach, a leading retailer of premium home furnishings. Herman Miller's Living Office (above) was showcased at this year's NeoCon.

Historically a leader in the contract market, Herman Miller last week announced a bid to purchase Design Within Reach, a leading retailer of premium home furnishings. Herman Miller's Living Office (above) was showcased at this year's NeoCon.

Credit: Herman Miller

On July 17, Herman Miller announced that it will buy retailer Design Within Reach (DWR) for an estimated $154 million in cash. The deal positions the 91-year-old Zeeland, Mich.–based furniture maker, known for its office furniture, to emerge as a strong player in the market for high-end contemporary home products.

“The addition of DWR is a transformational step forward in realizing our strategy for diversified growth and establishing Herman Miller as a premier lifestyle brand,” said Herman Miller CEO Brian Walker in a press release.

With 38 North American stores and an online retail presence, DWR is the largest vendor of Herman Miller products. The deal gives Herman Miller access to the retailer's brick-and-mortar and online sales channels, as well as its product portfolio.

"We are acquiring a complete consumer-focused infrastructure and an experienced and committed leadership team and workforce that truly values Herman Miller's design legacy," Walker said. "That leadership team will skillfully advance our consumer business while DWR gains new resources to further their growth plans."

The deal gives Herman Miller an 84-percent stake in the company. DWR CEO John Edelman and president John McPhee will continue to lead the business. Herman Miller executives will offer more details regarding the acquisition in a call with analysts and investors on July 31.

The deal is expected to close on July 28.