NexCen Gets Funding, Considers Bill Blass Sale

NEW YORK — NexCen Brands Inc. announced Friday it’s getting another cash infusion from its lender to help boost liquidity. It also confirmed the possible sale of its Bill Blass and Waverly brands.

However, at NexCen’s Athlete’s Foot division on Friday, it was still business as usual, according to Brian Smith, a spokesman who represents the franchise. “Everything is as planned and still moving forward,” said Smith, referring to the group’s plans to roll out 10 new urban-oriented TAF stores this year.

Confirming earlier reports, New York-based NexCen said in a written statement Friday that its Bill Blass and Waverly brands have attracted “numerous expressions of interest” from domestic and international strategic and financial buyers, and NexCen is working with N.M. Rothschild & Sons to evaluate possible transactions.

In addition to exploring strategic alternatives, NexCen said it’s continuing discussions with its lender, BTMU Capital Corp., and has entered into a pact that will give it near-term access to certain additional cash from its lockbox accounts and limited forbearance from certain defaults. The company should also see a decrease in cash outlays from the recent reduction of 10 percent of its total workforce.

“We’re very pleased to have reached an agreement with BTMU that provides the company with additional near-term financial flexibility,” NexCen CEO Robert D’Loren said in a written statement Friday. “This agreement is an important step in enabling us to continue to implement our operating plans for both our license and franchise businesses.”

The forbearance period extends through July 17, although it ends earlier if new defaults occur. NexCen also is seeking relief from an accelerated principal payment obligation in October, but said there’s “no assurance” that a pact will be reached in time and on terms that would provide the additional liquidity the company needs to operate its business.

Shares of NexCen closed down 10 percent in trading on Friday, to end at 43 cents.

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