Judge Approves Fred Leighton Purchase

Fred Leighton deal, for $25.8M, includes former Barneys partner Bob Pressman.

A bankruptcy judge has signed off on the sale of Fred Leighton to a group of investors that includes former Barneys New York principal Bob Pressman and jewelry firm Kwiat Enterprises.

This story first appeared in the November 9, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The approval paves the way for the $25.8 million deal to close this week.

Kwiat, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Pressman’s Triton Equity Partners submitted their bid for the jeweler last month with the backing of Merrill Lynch, Leighton’s largest creditor.

Fred Leighton Holding has been in Chapter 11 proceedings since April 2008, when then-owner Ralph Esmerian filed for protection to halt an inventory auction sought by Merrill Lynch.

In a ruling dated Nov. 2, Judge Robert Drain, of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, approved an asset purchase agreement that calls for Och-Ziff, Triton and Kwiat to take over the Leighton nameplate, the leases on its three stores and certain parts of its inventory to run the business as a going concern. A separate set of investors that include estate jewelry firm Windsor Jewelers Inc. and retired Fred Leighton founder Murray Mondschein will take on a significant portion of the remaining jewelry inventory independent of the going concern.

The sale is expected to close before Tuesday, court documents showed.