NEW YORK — Cash-strapped NexCen Brands Inc. is exiting its consumer brands and licensing business and selling design-house Bill Blass and home line Waverly. And there is no shortage of financial suitors.
Sources said NexCen last week cleaned house, letting go employees from multiple departments that were deemed non-essential. In addition to support staff, hard hit were the investor relations and marketing departments. NexCen last week hired Financial Dynamics to handle its investor relations work. The firm on Friday said NexCen had received a notice of delisting from the Nasdaq. It was expected by NexCen, which last week said it would file an appeal. Pending a decision, the company's stock will remain listed on Nasdaq.
NexCen's Charles Zona, an executive vice president who oversaw the company's licensing operations, is said to have left the company. One source said that now that NexCen is staying within just the franchising zone, Zona's services were no longer required. Zona could not be reached for comment.
Pressured by a near-term operating cash shortfall, president and chief executive officer Robert D'Loren said last Monday in a conference call to Wall Street that NexCen will be focusing on reducing expenses. NexCen's ceo in the past week is believed to have had exploratory conversations with potential buyers of its Blass and Waverly assets. The firm needs to shed those assets first and use the funds to pay down the debt. Such a move, if done quickly enough, would give the company a fighting chance in avoiding a bankruptcy. D'Loren could not be reached for comment.
Arnold Simon, president and chief executive officer of Designer Licensing Holdings, which has the license for Bill Blass jeanswear and owns 10 percent of the Blass trademark, said Friday that he was assembling a group of investors to make a bid on the Blass business, and sources said Tharanco Group, headed by Haresh Tharani, and Iconix Brand Group Inc. also have expressed interest.
Windsong Brands, which led an investment group to acquire Ellen Tracy earlier this year, is said to be interested in both Waverly, the home furnishings business, and Blass. William Sweedler, chairman and ceo of Windsong, declined comment.
Richard Baker, ceo of NRDC Equity Partners, isn't interested in buying the Blass business, said a spokeswoman for Baker. NRDC owns Lord & Taylor and Creative Design Studio, and also has invested in numerous designers, including Peter Som, who designs Blass' women's line as well as his own.
A new Joan Rivers coffee table book, titled “Joan Rivers Confidential,” gives readers never-before-seen photos and letters of the late comedian throughout her life. “Because of her drive to always be fresh, she kept records of every appearance, every performance, all the jokes that were used on TV, all the clothes that were worn,” said Rivers’ daughter Melissa. Here, Rivers poses at the “Tonight Show” in Tracy Mills in 1985. Read more about the book and see more photos at WWD.com. #wwdeye
After a career at New York hot spots like Narcissa, Dovetail and Nix, @chefjfraser has expanded to the West Village with The Loyal, a modernized take on an American brasserie. “And as I’ve gone through my career I’ve felt some departure from that kind of simple, straightforward [cooking]. This is meant to take on the idea of ‘what if the American brasserie was invented today?’” #wwdeye (📷: @chinseephoto)
@bellahadid and @lilyaldridge at @bulgariofficial’s celebration on Friday night, toasting the brand's new Peter Marino-designed flagship on Fifth Avenue. The two-part event included a cocktail party at the store followed by a dinner at a mystery location — the Met Cloisters. #wwdeye
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews