NRDC Equity Partners, the parent of Lord & Taylor and Creative Design Studio, has entered into an agreement to purchase Fortunoff for $110 million.


Meanwhile, Fortunoff was expected to electronically file a 363 bankruptcy proceeding Sunday night, making the purchase agreement possible.


The deal for the jewelry and housewares chain includes an $80 million purchase price, plus $30 million in other obligations such as gift cards, employee benefits and debt. The company is being purchased from Trimaran Capital Partners, an equity group that along with K Group, another private equity firm, bought Fortunoff in 2004.


NRDC has made a $10 million letter of credit available to Fortunoff to help purchase inventory.


“We’re very much coming in as a white knight,” Richard Baker, president and chief executive officer of NRDC, told WWD. “If we weren¹t here, the whole thing could get liquidated. But the business is not bad off. It just has a liquidity crisis. Fortunoff is a very strong business that with synergies with Lord & Taylor will create a lot of value in a very short period of time.”


The purchase agreement with Trimaran Capital Partners is expected to close in early March, though there is a window of opportunity for competing offers. No store closings are planned for Fortunoff, which operates a total of  20 locations in New York and New Jersey.


Baker intends to create Fortunoff jewelry departments and home stores with bridal registries in the 47 Lord & Taylor stores. “These will get rolled out in an expeditious manner, within the next 12 months,” Baker said.

For full coverage, see Monday’s issue of WWD.


load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus