Barneys’ creditors push bid to save bankrupt business


Barneys creditors are keen to revisit a revised offer that would keep stores open. (Credit: Getty Images)

Barneys’ creditors are still hoping that an outsider bidder will keep the doors of the iconic luxury retailer open.

Before a Halloween day hearing to finalize the sale of Barneys, the retailer’s unsecured creditors asked to consider a second takeover offer that would save the department store. But it’s unclear whether the offer will arrive even before the hearing.

660 Madison Avenue (Photo credit: Barneys)

660 Madison Avenue (Photo credit: Barneys)

The main bidder appears to be Authentic Brands Group, which owns the intellectual property for many fashion brands. Last week, ABG announced it would buy the intellectual property from Barneys and partner with Saks Fifth Avenue to use the Barneys name in all of its stores. The deal is priced at around $ 270 million.

Sam Ben Avraham

Sam Ben-Avraham (Credit: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, another group of investors, led by Sam Ben-Avraham, submitted a lower bid. But in a statement filed Wednesday, unsecured creditors said Ben-Avraham’s group was revising its offer. Creditors have asserted the right to see it as a better deal than ABG’s on the basis of factors other than price, namely that it would keep stores open and jobs in place. ABG’s offer, they said, would essentially liquidate Barneys.

“From the outset of this business, the committee lobbied for Barneys to stay alive as a true operating company with a maximum retail footprint, as it would benefit thousands of employees… as well as thousands upon thousands of customers who visit Barneys, ”the statement read.

Barneys, his bankrupt lawyer and representatives for Ben-Avraham did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Barneys filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August, claiming in part that recent rent increases – particularly at its 275,000-square-foot lighthouse at 660 Madison Avenue – were too financially burdensome. Among Barneys’ major unsecured creditors are owners Jenel Management, which co-owns 660 Madison Avenue with Ashkenazy Acquisition, and Thor Equities.

As part of its bankruptcy plan, the retailer announced it would close 15 of its 22 stores. On Instagram, Barneys confirmed last week that it had accepted ABG’s offer as a stalking horse offer. But he also said he’s still working with Ben-Avraham, whose deal would keep stores and open.

The Ben-Avraham team, which has yet to submit a revised offer, the statement said, has launched a “Save Barneys” website and petition to garner public support for keeping Barneys alive.

Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group

Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group (Photo credit: Getty Images)

“Barneys as we know it will disappear. By signing this petition, you bring us one step closer to ensuring that the corner of Madison and 61st Street continues to inspire people around the world, ”part of a statement on the site said.

The hearing to approve the sale takes place Thursday morning in Poughkeepsie, NY and it’s shaping up to be a showdown: Women’s Wear Daily reported Wednesday morning that the Ben-Avraham investor group was planning to submit another offer. And another team – David Jackson, the former head of a company that acquired Barneys in 2007, and a fragrance retailer – is also planning to submit a proposal to save the business, Jackson told the New York Post.

Write to Marie Diduch at [email protected]

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