Kellwood Co. is stuck between a fed-up Wall Street and an angry major shareholder — and it must either deliver to the first or risk a hostile takeover by the second in 2008.
Since Sun Capital Securities Group LLC issued — then reissued — a $543 million bid for the St. Louis-based vendor this fall, the second-largest Kellwood shareholder has made it clear it intends to buy the $1.6 billion company despite Kellwood's two flat rejections of the $21 a share offer.
"Our strong preference is to acquire Kellwood in a friendly negotiated transaction," stated a letter issued last month by Jason G. Bernzweig, vice president of Sun Capital, to the Kellwood board, "but we are prepared to take all necessary steps to protect the value of our 9.9 percent ownership position in Kellwood, including making a $21 per share offer directly to Kellwood's other shareholders."
Sun Capital originally made its offer on Sept. 18, and a month later, Kellwood rejected that bid.
Kellwood has stepped up its efforts to persuade investors to have faith in its strategic plan. Robert C. Skinner Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Kellwood, made several promises to shareholders, including that the company would boost organic sales growth to 4 to 5 percent, raise operating margins to 9 percent and grow earnings per share at least 25 percent.
But Sun Capital followed that announcement with a reiteration of its earlier offer, insinuating it did not have faith in Kellwood's execution record. Again, Kellwood turned down the bid.
Last quarter, Kellwood posted a loss from continuing operations of $66.3 million, which prompted a restructuring. Its third-quarter earnings will be released Friday. The stock has been trading between $14 and $19 during this period.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast