The future of Nine West Holdings could be determined in 60 days.
That’s how long a bankruptcy judge has given a mediator to try to resolve the ongoing dispute between Nine West’s owner, Sycamore Partners, and a number of unsecured creditors.
The “mediation conference” will occur at a time and place to be determined by the appointed mediator within 60 days of the Nov. 9 court ruling.
Nine West Holdings, the clothing, shoe and accessories retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last April. But the battle over Nine West Holdings’ assets, estimated to be between $500 million and $1 billion and include the One Jeanswear Group, The Jewelry Group, The Kasper Group and Anne Klein, quickly ensued.
The company also owns and licenses a number of brands such Gloria Vanderbilt, Jessica Simpson Jeanswear, Skinny Girl and Martha Stewart, and is estimated to have liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.
The bankruptcy would allow the company to focus on its most lucrative brands.
In October, a group of unsecured creditors filed for permission to sue Sycamore in a New York federal court, on the grounds that Sycamore was involved in fraudulent transfers and other claims of more than a $1 billion.
“There can be no doubt that the proposed claims are orders of magnitude more valuable than the range of settlement under discussion between the debtors and Sycamore,” the court documents read.
“The majority of the Proposed Claims arise out of a leveraged buyout of Jones Inc.…Sycamore designed the transaction to unfairly deflect the risk of the [leveraged buyout] from Sycamore to [Nine West Holdings] creditors, who shared none of Sycamore’s potential upside. In the end, despite [Nine West’s] bankruptcy, Sycamore reaped a massive financial windfall, while [Nine West] and its creditors lost upwards of $1 billion,” the documents continued.
The very next day, Nine West Holdings released a revised reorganization plan that outlined how it planned to reduce the company’s pre-bankruptcy debt by more than $1 billion. According to the restructuring, stakeholders would also receive a proposed $105 million cash payout to settle allegations.
A representative for Sycamore did not comment.