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.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
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With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)