J. CREW REFINANCES: J. Crew Group Inc. has entered into a commitment letter with Wachovia Bank National Association and Congress Financial Corp. to refinance a $180 million secured loan agreement among J. Crew Operating Corp. and certain of its subsidiaries, according to a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The refinanced facility will have a five-year term and provide up to $170 million of revolving loans and letters of credit to J. Crew Operating and its subsidiaries on similar terms to those in the existing facility. The existing facility began on Dec. 23, 2002 and provides revolving loans of up to $160 million, supplemental loans of up to $20 million each year and letter of credit accommodations. According to the filing, the pricing and lending formulas used to determine availability under the refinanced facility will be more favorable to J. Crew Operating and its subsidiaries than those in the existing facility. Meanwhile, Wednesday’s news follows, as previously reported, a $275 million senior subordinated loan agreement between J. Crew Operating and Black Canyon Capital LLC and Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, according to a prior SEC filing.

LOEWS GRABS REST OF BULOVA: Bulova Corp. said Loews Corp. will purchase the remaining 149,998 shares of Bulova that it doesn’t yet own at a price of $35 a share, payable in cash. Bulova became a subsidiary of Loews in 1979, according to Bulova’s general counsel, Warren Neitzel. Since then, Loews has increased its stake of Bulova’s publicly traded shares to 97 percent. Loews is acquiring the remaining Bulova shares in what is known as a short-form merger, the term for the process during  which the parent company merges with a subsidiary in which the parent owns more than a 90 percent stake, with the parent as the surviving corporation. The procedure doesn’t require either the vote of Bulova’s board or its shareholders. The transaction is expected to be completed early next year. Following the merger, Bulova will cease to be a public company and will no longer be required to file regulatory statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

REEBOK CONVERSION: Reebok International Ltd. completed an offer to exchange 2 percent convertible debentures that were offered in April for new 2 percent convertible debentures due in 2024. According to the company, about 84.8 percent, or an estimated $296.8 million of the old securities, were tendered by holders of the old securities. About $53.2 million of the old securities remain outstanding.

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