NEW YORK -- Federated Department Stores has until Wednesday to resolve its antitrust dispute with New York State Attorney General G. Oliver Koppell, according to attorneys on the case.
Koppell, as reported, has demanded that Federated -- which last week got bankruptcy court approval to merge with R.H. Macy -- sell all 12 Macy's stores in the New York City metropolitan area, including the Herald Square flagship. He has threatened to file a lawsuit that could delay the merger for months or force selloffs if an agreement isn't reached by the deadline. In another development, Macy's lead attorney, Harvey Miller, said Thursday in bankruptcy court that Roger N. Farah, R.H. Macy & Co.'s president and chief operating officer, will resign once the merger of Macy's and Federated is final. It is expected to be completed in December.
Federated refused to comment Friday on Farah, but a spokeswoman said "Harvey Miller does not speak for Federated, and we have no comment on what he said." Last month, Koppell, New York's top antitrust cop, said he would oppose the merger on grounds that it would form a near monopoly in the metropolitan area. He is up for reelection and faces a Democratic primary Tuesday.
Federated, as expected, has taken a hard stand against selling the 12 stores. However, both sides have expressed hope of avoiding litigation and have been involved in negotiations since Aug. 31.
Miller's comments on Farah were made in bankruptcy court last week during a hearing to approve the merger agreement, which includes a section on executive employment contracts.
Miller, in getting the agreement approved last week, told Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland that Federated had indicated to him that it didn't intend to offer employment to Farah.
Miller could not be reached for comment, but one of his associates confirmed that Miller made the statement.
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