REFUSING TO BE JILTED: EB Acquisition Ltd. has written to the management of Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. decrying the department store’s decision to negotiate exclusively with a single suitor and urging a “full and fair” auction of the company. The investor group said it is interested in making an all-cash offer for the company, even at a premium to the current stock price and, if successful in its bid to acquire the retailer, intends to keep the firm’s headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, “maintain its employee base and expand in various areas in the United States.” Elder-Beerman stock closed unchanged at $4.70 in Nasdaq trading Wednesday but is up $1.36, or 40.7 percent, since it revealed last Thursday that it was negotiating with a single party about a sale. The letter from EB Acquisition was signed by Daniel Summers as managing member of the firm.
THE GRADUATES: Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, will give the commencement address to the class of 2003 at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Friday, while Calvin Klein will receive an honorary degree, the college said. Klein is a 1963 graduate of FIT. About 2,600 students will receive their degrees at the 10 a.m. ceremony at Radio City Music Hall, which will also include an address from Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.).
BEAN’S MOVE FORWARD: L.L. Bean is said to have taken the next step on its plan to purchase Eddie Bauer by hiring consultants to help it review each of Bauer’s assets. As reported, Bauer’s parent, The Spiegel Group, is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection. L.L. Bean is still in the early stages of its potential acquisition of some or all of Bauer’s assets, including the nameplate, customer list and warehouses. Spiegel so far has maintained that Bauer is not for sale, but market sources said two months ago it was quietly shopping the operation.
SELLING SELFRIDGES: The clock is ticking for Iranian property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz to make a rival offer for London-based department store Selfridges. Sources say Tchenguiz, who is working with the consortium Aletheia Partners, is putting together a knockout bid that will value the company at more than $1 billion, and submit it by the end of the week. A spokeswoman for Tchenguiz did not return phone calls, while a Selfridges spokeswoman declined to comment. On Friday, Galen Weston’s bid for Selfridges — which already has been recommended by the store’s board — was mailed to shareholders.
This story first appeared in the May 22, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.