In 1978, Grant Simmons Jr. resigned. In
1979, Gulf & Western acquired a controlling interest in Simmons
through stock purchases. They split the company into two entities,
Simmons U.S.A. and Simmons Universal. In 1986, Wickes Corporation
purchases Simmons U.S.A. from Gulf & Western, and one year
later Wesray Capital and Simmons management acquired Simmons
U.S.A. from Wickes. In 1988 the name was changed from Simmons
U.S.A. back to Simmons Company, and in 1989 an Employee Stock
Option Plan purchased all outstanding stock. Finally, in 1991,
Merrill Lynch Capital Partners acquired a majority stock position.
Edward Steed, a third-generation employee, noted what must have
been a universal feeling among the workers: "... it was
affecting this sacred thing, this company my father worked for.
To many employees, it was that old biblical thing: 'There rose
up a Pharaoh who didn't know Moses.' "
In 1996 Simmons exceeded $500 million in
U.S. sales and about $800 million worldwide. As of 2003, they
are the world's number one name in bedding with $1 billion in
worldwide sales. The company is headquartered in Atlanta.
Simmons' Atlanta Headquarters