PLAID'S DEADLINE PASSES, BUT GFT DEAL STILL LIVES

MILAN--The July 15 deadline for Plaid Clothing Group PLC to sign a final purchase contract to acquire GFT SpA has come and gone, but sources say the deal continues to move forward and the pact should be signed by the end of the month.
Further, Giorgio Armani reportedly has confirmed his contract with GFT, which produces men's and women's diffusion lines under the designer's labels, for the next four seasons, through spring-summer 1997.
The Armani commitment has been seen as a crucial factor in the Plaid-GFT deal. Officials at GFT here and at Plaid in New York could not be reached for comment. Armani has repeatedly declined to discuss the status of his GFT contract.
Plaid, sources said, reportedly has gotten an informal nod from GFT's leading creditor banks to extend the deadline to July 29, although Plaid's exclusive status as sole bidder for GFT technically has expired. To date, no alternative bidders for GFT have come forth.
A spokesman for Mediobanca, the merchant bank orchestrating GFT's financial restructuring, declined comment.
As reported, GFT's creditor banks, which essentially hold GFT, have agreed to sell the company to Plaid for $248 million (390 billion lire) at current exchange rates.
--Fairchild News Service

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