NEW YORK -- The March 8 deadline for Macy's and interested parties to outline reorganization plans will likely be extended, according to lawyers working in the case.
The timetable was set last week by Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland, when he appointed former Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance to mediate the proceedings. However, several attorneys said Friday that the period to file a plan outline is too brief, and expect the date to be pushed to the end of March.
Macy's had originally expected to present the reorganization outline at the end of March. An extension would also give Federated Department Stores more time as well, should it decide to offer its own proposal to Vance. Federated has declined to comment on its intentions.
The lawyers predicted no extension will be set before Vance's role is made official at a Thursday bankruptcy court hearing.
At the hearing, the exact role of Vance and his law firm -- Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett -- will be raised by Macy's bondholders committee, which asked the court for clarification.
Robert Miller of Berlack, Israels & Liberman, the committee's counsel, said in court papers he would not object to the appointments as long as Vance and his firm stuck to assisting Macy's and the creditor groups form a consensual plan -- "without substantive involvement." Miller also noted the impartiality of Vance's firm could be questioned due to potential conflicts of interest through its representation of Dillard Department Stores -- a previous Macy suitor -- and General Electric Capital Corp. -- a Macy preferred shareholder.
Judge Lifland wants a mediator to push Macy's out of Chapter 11 by the end of the year. The retailer has been in bankruptcy for more than two years.
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