NEW YORK — Kasper A.S.L. said Tuesday it had received a $168.6 million bid from Jones Apparel Group, confirming a report in WWD on Monday.
That means Jones and Kellwood Co. will have an opportunity to face off for control of the bankrupt Kasper and its Anne Klein franchise on Thursday, when a bankruptcy court has set an auction. Jones’ offer consists of $156 million in cash and the assumption of prepaid royalties projected to be $12.6 million at closing.
That bid represents the minimum increase over Kellwood’s earlier offer of $163 million as set by the court, covering a $4 million breakup fee of Kellwood’s deal and the minimum incremental bid of $1 million. At the auction, Jones and Kellwood will have the chance to continue bidding in increments of $1 million. A spokeswoman for Kellwood said Hal Upbin, its chairman and chief executive officer, will be present with a team of lawyers, indicating the company intends to fend off the challenge from Jones.
Following the auction, the highest bid will be implemented with an amended plan of reorganization, subject to court approval and that of a majority of the company’s creditors.
Although Jones was seen as the leading candidate for the $358 million company in the spring, Kellwood became the stalking horse in the auction when its offer was accepted by a special committee representing Kasper’s creditors. Jones’ purchasing muscle was also likely a factor in the relative scarcity of competing bids, as sources inside Kasper have indicated that only executives from Jones and Kellwood performed due diligence research on the firm — an indication of their interest in purchasing the suit and sportswear company.
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