• PINAULT GOES TO PRESS: François Pinault wants to set the record straight. The French tycoon, who controls Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and Italy’s Gucci Group, penned a front-page article in France’s Le Monde newspaper Wednesday explaining his side in the so-called Executive Life affair. As reported, Pinault is accused of suspect dealings in the way he acquired the failed California insurer and its junk-bond portfolio in the early Nineties. In the article, Pinault said “the American justice system has taken us hostage with its own particular vigor because it knows we’re solvent.” Pinault denied any wrongdoing on his part or on that of his family holding, Artemis. He added that he refused to sign a settlement in September with the U.S. judiciary because: “The idea of declaring myself guilty, just for the sake of appearances, of a crime that I didn’t commit, is unbearable. For me it’s a question of dignity.” Pinault has called for an investigation into the affair.

  • DEADLINE EXTENDED: The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. has extended the deadline of its tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. The York, Pa.-based department store chain set a new deadline of Friday at 9 a.m. from its earlier deadline of Tuesday. The company also stated that about 10.9 million shares have already been tendered, representing approximately 82 percent of diluted shares outstanding. To close the deal, Bon-Ton only needed Elder-Beerman shareholders to tender two-thirds of outstanding shares. As reported, Bon-Ton announced its acquisition of Elder-Beerman, the nation’s ninth largest independent department store chain, in late September, tendering an offer on all outstanding shares at a purchase price of $8.

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