R.S. Owens Announces Layoffs

Company Recently Acquired By St Regis Crystal

R.S. OwensFollowing last month's announcement that R.S. Owens (asi/75530) has been acquired in an asset purchase by St Regis Crystal (asi/84592), R.S. Owens informed 95 employees last week that their last day at the company will be December 17. The layoff date coincides with the date that the St Regis acquisition officially becomes effective.

"Our acquisition of R.S. Owens is asset-based, so we're not purchasing the whole company," Richard Firkser, president and CEO of St Regis, told Counselor in an exclusive interview yesterday. "They gave notice to some employees that they would not be retained following the closing of the deal because R.S. Owens will be ceasing some of its operations."

As part of the terms of the acquisition, St Regis will be taking over the decoration, fulfillment, marketing and service of R.S. Owens' catalog items and moving those functions to its Indianapolis facility. R.S. Owens will continue to manufacture its awards products, including the Oscar and Emmy awards at its current location in Chicago. Firkser said he expects St Regis, which will maintain separate ASI numbers for itself and R.S. Owens, to add some positions at its Indianapolis office as a result of the acquisition, and that his company is interviewing some of the newly laid off R.S. Owens employees for those openings.

"We've been interviewing people and will continue to interview everyone who's interested in a position with us," Firkser said. "Not everybody will be hired but a good number of people will be. We'll be transitioning the operations from Chicago to Indianapolis over the next few weeks and months, and some people will also be a part of that."

The 95 layoffs at R.S. Owens represents about a third of its total staff of 251, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The remainder of R.S. Owens' employees will now be focused on manufacturing of the company's products. "They were more set up to be a manufacturing company, and we're set up as a service and fulfillment company," Firkser said. "So, the deal will work to both companies' strengths."