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.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty