NEW YORK — HMX Group is fielding interest from potential buyers — and Iconix Brand Group Inc. is among the strongest suitors.
This isn’t the first time Iconix has shown interest in the financially troubled men’s wear company, according to market sources. But its interest is said to have “intensified” in recent weeks, with the firm now seeking partners it can work with to complete a deal. Iconix is a brand-management company and would need a partner or partners to manage the operations of HMX.
Sources said that in any Iconix-led transaction, the company and its partners would share HMX’s equity, although Iconix would most likely own the trademarks. The new owners would continue to operate all of HMX’s current brands, which include Hart Schaffner Marx, Hickey Freeman, Bobby Jones and Coppley.
A spokeswoman for Iconix declined comment Wednesday.
Doug Williams, chief executive officer of HMX, said, “The company doesn’t speculate on market rumors. SKNL, management and its advisers are completely focused on ensuring the future of HMX and its brands.”
HMX’s history originated from the now-defunct Hartmarx Corp., which was acquired out of bankruptcy by Indian firm S. Kumars Nationwide Ltd. in August 2009 and renamed HMX. London-based Emerisque Brands holds a minority stake in HMX.
While Williams and Joseph Abboud, president and chief creative officer of HMX, have been working to turn the group around, the men’s wear firm has had issues this year regarding its financial structure. In August, the company closed on a new financing facility with Salus Capital Partners. The new one replaced the facility HMX had with its former lending group, led by Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan.
Approval of the new facility was finalized in June but hit a roadblock due to a required cash infusion from SKNL that never arrived. The initial glitch was resolved as continued negotiations centered around a timetable through which SKNL would provide funding via installments.
But market sources indicate that SKNL might be unwilling to continue to fund HMX, increasing the pressure on the firm to find a new owner. One source familiar with the financial structure of HMX acknowledged that “timing is critical” in connection with any acquisition of the firm. If SKNL does not provide its agreed funding, that could jeopardize the availability of HMX’s new facility with Salus Capital.
Sources said that more than two dozen firms have looked at HMX, although Iconix seems to be the most interested. Rumblings over the future of HMX and its funding first surfaced at the MAGIC show in Las Vegas in August. There were also rumors that a management-led buyout might be in the works. While the accuracy of the speculation could not be determined, sources said any new owner would likely keep Williams and Abboud on board, given their efforts in overhauling the business and updating the collections.
There are major hurdles to any possible acquisition of HMX, namely the status of the unions and the North American factories that are part of its operations. HMX operates three factories — in Chicago, Rochester and Hamilton, Ontario.
Market sources believe that discussions may have already included union feedback, and that the unions are already on board with a possible sale of the company. One source familiar with the discussions said “there’s been no discussion or intent to shut down any factory.” The source concluded that the unions see a sale with continued factory production as a “commitment to American manufacturing,” and as a result, the factories would not be an issue in any transaction currently under discussion.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews