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VSI Fasteners Inc. OKs Acquisition by Illinois Firm

TIMES STAFF WRITER

VSI Fasteners Inc., a distributor of hardware products for home center stores, said Thursday that it has agreed to be acquired by Newell Co. in Freeport, Ill., for an undisclosed sum.

Newell, a home-furnishings manufacturer with $720 million in sales in 1989, plans to acquire VSI Fasteners from parent company Vision Hardware Group Inc. in Orange by the end of July, according to Derwin Cugley, vice president of marketing for VSI.

Cugley said that has announced no plans for VSI, a 35-year-old company that markets a wide range of fastener products to hardware retailers. VSI has 300 employees, including 55 in Orange County.

Newell will be the third owner of VSI in a decade. Vision Hardware Group, led by VSI founder Phil Furst, purchased VSI for $25 million from Fairchild Industries Inc. in 1985. Fairchild acquired VSI in 1980 from Furst.

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VSI Fasteners recently made headlines when it complained that its reputation was being unfairly tarnished because it is being confused with VSI Corp. and that firm’s subsidiary, Voi-Shan Industries of Culver City.

In May, VSI Corp. and two Voi-Shan employees pleaded guilty to charges that they falsified test results on contracts for the federal government. But VSI Fasteners reported that its customers were confusing the two companies, and the Stanton firm spent $20,000 on a public relations campaign to spread the word that it is not associated with VSI Corp. or Voi-Shan.

Cugley said he doubted that Newell would change VSI Fasteners’ name because of the confusion.


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