Bankrupt Barneys Wrapping Up Talks With ‘Multiple Bidders’

Update (Oct. 11, 2019)

Liberty Fairs trade show owner Sam Ben-Avraham appears to have some competition in his bid to buy the bankrupt Barneys New York.

FN‘s sister publication WWD initially reported that Hilldun CEO Gary Wassner was discussing the retailer’s purchase with Ben-Avraham; however, instead of joining forces, WWD has learned from an unnamed source that the two are facing off.

In court filings on Thursday, Barneys shared that it was wrapping up talks with “multiple bidders.” An auction is set for Oct. 24.

Update (Oct. 8, 2019)

Fashion financier Gary Wassner is reportedly in talks with Sam Ben-Avraham to buy Barneys New York out of bankruptcy.

According to FN’s sister publication WWD, Wassner has been discussing steps to raise money to purchase the luxury department store chain. He is currently a member of the unsecured creditors committee and previously helped designers ship goods to the retailer as CEO of factoring and finance company Hilldun Corp.

What FN Reported (Oct. 4, 2019): Bankrupt Barneys Reportedly in ‘Advanced’ Talks With Potential Buyer

Barneys New York is reportedly in the later stages of discussions with a potential buyer, who has been identified as a group of fashion executives led by Liberty Fairs trade show owner Sam Ben-Avraham.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter, the group is preparing a bid of about $220 million to take control of the bankrupt retailer because it hopes to stave off liquidation. A judge in a bankruptcy hearing on Thursday extended the deadline for bids to Oct. 11.

An industry leader, Ben-Avraham owns the clothing boutique Atrium based in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and founded the PROJECT trade show. He also served as an early investor in streetwear brand Kith, partnering with founder Ronnie Fieg to open a couple of retail locations in the city.

The WSJ report added that Ben-Avraham has been assembling a coalition of retail veterans and brand investors to fund the bid. In a statement, a Barneys spokesperson wrote, “We are in advanced negotiations with a potential purchaser and intend to reach an agreement by next Friday.”

The storied department store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 6, securing $218 million in financing that allowed it to continue operations. Barneys, a Manhattan mainstay for nearly a century, has struggled amid skyrocketing rents and shifting consumer demands that have weighed heavily on its margins.

Over the past month or so, it shuttered units in Las Vegas, Chicago and Seattle, and it closed some warehouse locations and smaller concept stores as part of its restructuring plan. The company received court approval to continue paying employee wages and honoring customer orders as it works toward meeting its financial commitments going forward.

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