Cash-strapped NexCen Brands Inc. said it has received “numerous expressions of interest” in its Bill Blass and Waverly brands.
This story first appeared in the June 23, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The firm also said it had inked an agreement with its lender that will provide some additional financial breathing room, at least until July 17.
The deal with BTMU Capital Corp. gives NexCen access to additional cash from its lockbox accounts and limited forbearance from “certain alleged defaults” for about four weeks. The company agreed to give monthly rather than quarterly updates on its operations and cash flow to the lender.
“This agreement is an important step in enabling us to continue to implement our operating plans for both our license and franchise businesses,” said Robert W. D’Loren, chief executive officer of NexCen.
The brand management firm has been struggling since it revealed on May 19 that $30 million of the $70 million it borrowed to acquire Great American Cookies must be paid down by Oct. 17 and said there was substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. The company’s shares dropped 77 percent on the news, closing at 58 cents in over-the-counter trading. They ended Friday’s session at 43 cents, down 10.4 percent.
In the past month, NexCen has been working to slim its operations. On Friday, the firm said it had reduced its workforce by 10 percent, a move expected to cut cash outlays by about $3.5 million.
NexCen also confirmed Friday that Bill Blass was up for sale, something that has been understood in the market for some time.
“The company has received numerous expressions of interest in both the Bill Blass and Waverly brands from domestic and international strategic and financial buyers,” said NexCen.
Designer Licensing Holdings, the jeanswear licensee for Bill Blass and owner of 10 percent of the Bill Blass trademark, has acknowledged interest in acquiring the mark. Others reported to have expressed interest include Tharanco Group, Iconix Brand Group Inc. and Windsong Brands LLC.