La-Z-Boy Inc., the largest U.S. maker of upholstered furniture and a leading manufacturer worldwide of recliners, said it's buying Ladd Furniture Inc. for $197.8 million in stock. La-Z-Boy also will assume Ladd's debt of $101.5 million. Greensboro, N.C.-based Ladd is among North America's largest residential-furniture makers and one of the world's leading suppliers to hotel and motel, assisted-living and government markets. It markets a broad range of bedroom, dining room and upholstered furniture under several brand names, including American Drew, Barclay and Clayton Marcus. The deal "sets up La-Z-Boy as an industry behemoth" and should help the company "leverage capacity, brands and styles to be of greater service to retailers, and ultimately to consumers," said analyst Saul Cutler of BDO Seidman. The deal calls for the exchange of each Ladd share for 1.18 shares of La-Z-Boy share and represents a price of $24.34 per Ladd share, based on La-Z-Boy's closing stock price Tuesday of $20.63. Monroe, Mich.-based La-Z-Boy had sales of $1.29 billion in fiscal 1999. Ladd had sales of $571 million in 1998.