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Idol Raises Bid for Kasper

NEW YORK — John D. Idol sweetened the management-led buyout bid for Kasper ASL Ltd. on Tuesday to $100 million.<br><br>Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Kasper, and his private equity partner, Parthenon Capital LLC, said late Tuesday...

NEW YORK — John D. Idol sweetened the management-led buyout bid for Kasper ASL Ltd. on Tuesday to $100 million.

Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Kasper, and his private equity partner, Parthenon Capital LLC, said late Tuesday they had increased the purchase offer placed before creditors last week by $12 million.

“This sends a message that we are very serious about acquiring this company and we are working to make it happen,” Idol said.

Idol and an unspecified group of upper management at Kasper announced last week they had partnered with Parthenon to make an offer for the bankrupt firm from creditors for $88 million in cash. Of the total sum, $6 million would be used to pay transaction fees and other expenses, making the actual purchase price $82 million in the original offer.

Under the revised proposal, management and Parthenon have increased their offer to $100 million in cash, of which $94 million would be used to discharge the claims of unsecured creditors. The $6 million estimate of transaction fees and expenses remains unchanged. As reported, industry estimates put the total amount of Kasper’s outstanding claims at approximately $148 million.

The original management offer came just a day before a bankruptcy court was scheduled to consider Kasper’s most recently amended plan of reorganization and a disclosure statement, which detailed a plan to change the corporate name to Anne Klein Group and swap outstanding Kasper stock for newly issued shares of Anne Klein in order to pay off liabilities. It is similar to the reorganization plan of Feb. 5, when the company filed a pre-arranged bankruptcy agreement. The hearing was postponed to allow creditors time to consider the all-cash proposal.

Kasper’s bankruptcy plan was created after acquiring a heavy debt load from its acquisition of the Anne Klein labels. ASL refers to former chairman Arthur S. Levine, who left the firm shortly after Idol came on board in July 2001 after a turnaround effort at Donna Karan International. Levine has since partnered with Elie Tahari to launch a rival suit line.