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Herman Miller-Design Within Reach Merger Never Happened According to New Lawsuit

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The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages

On Tuesday, The New York Times broke a story on a new lawsuit that claims that the 2014 merger of major high-end furniture purveyors (and midcentury lovers' favorites) Design Within Reach and Herman Miller (of Eames lounge chair and Noguchi table fame) never actually happened.

The claim was filed in Delaware by two longstanding shareholders—Andrew Franklin, who is the president of investment firm UTR, and Charles Almond. They contend that the $154 million deal never went through, and that, as a result, they were "deprived of a ton of value," as Franklin told the Times. They seek unspecified damages.

The lawsuit, which is currently in the discovery phase, argues that through a series of technical mistakes, including the unsuccessful reverse split of its shares by Design Within Reach (DWR), Herman Miller never collected the approximately 90% of DWR's shares required to finalize the merger.

If the plaintiffs' claims hold up, the court could theoretically order the merger to be reversed and for DWR to be "carved out" of Herman Miller.

The defendants Herman Miller and the four men who made up DWR's board denied the allegations in court filings.

In response to a request for comment, both Herman Miller and DWR said they won't speak about ongoing legal matters. Head on over to the New York Times for the full story.