GOLDMAN, SACHS MAKES AN OFFER FOR CIRO'S CHAIN

Byline: Jeff Siegel

NEW YORK--Goldman, Sachs & Co., which last month invested $135 million for 28 percent of Polo Ralph Lauren, is eyeing another segment of the fashion industry, Ciro Inc., a jewelry chain that's been in Chapter 11 since July 19.
Goldman, Sachs' offer to buy the 132-store chain for $6.5 million was revealed in Ciro's disclosure statement, which became available Monday. The chain could be out of bankruptcy by October if Bankruptcy Judge Jeffry Gallet approves the deal. A hearing is set for Friday.
Unsecured creditors, who would receive a $250,000 payout in the takeover, have indicated support, largely because there is no real alternative, Michael J. Deutsch, counsel to the creditors' committee, said Monday. Goldman, Sachs would make the purchase through Pearl Street and Cerberus Partners limited partnerships. A Goldman, Sachs spokesman declined comment on the offer.
Deutsch cautioned there are still problems--like how to supply the stores in time for Christmas--that need to be worked out before a deal is signed. Most of the firm's stores operate under the Ciro name. It also has Kenneth Jay Lane stores.
Another factor, Deutsch added, is that Goldman, Sachs does not say what material changes, if any, it plans for Ciro.
"It's puzzling," he said, "why Goldman, Sachs would be interested in a company like Ciro," which has annual sales just over $40 million.

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