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Kellwood Snubs Sun Capital Offer

Board says unsolicited proposal of $21 a share fails to consider upside potential of company’s brands and operations.

Kellwood Co.’s board has rejected Sun Capital Securities Group LLC’s unsolicited offer to acquire the company for $543.9 million, saying it “significantly undervalues the strength of Kellwood’s expanded portfolio of brands and the company’s opportunities for sales and earnings growth.”

Sun Capital proposed to buy Kellwood for $21 a share on Sept. 19. That’s an 18.8 percent premium to the closing price of Kellwood shares on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday. Shares of Kellwood rose to $18 in early Wednesday trading.

Robert Skinner, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Kellwood, said in a statement Wednesday morning, “Our board is committed to enhancing shareholder value and the Sun Capital proposal is not consistent with this objective. We continue to believe that executing our corporate strategy to reinvigorate our core business, expand our penetration into higher profile, better and above price point brands, connect more directly with consumers and utilize our operating infrastructure more efficiently to fund our growth will deliver greater value to our shareholders.”

Kellwood said the board vote to reject the offer was unanimous and based on the plan formulated with its financial advisor, Banc of America Securities LLC.

For more, see Thursday’s issue of WWD.