MILAN — An offer by Plaid Clothing PLC to buy GFT SpA has been approved by some 95 percent of GFT’s Italian creditor banks, as required to move forward with Plaid’s letter of intent, according to banking sources familiar with the situation.
The sources — close to Milan investment bank Euromobiliare, which is overseeing the transaction on behalf of Plaid, and merchant bank Mediobanca, which is handling troubled GFT’s financial rescue operation — said both sides hope to sign a final contract as soon as May 15, although events may push back the date.
GFT has declined to comment on the talks with Plaid.
The sources also stated that Plaid is the sole suitor currently negotiating to buy GFT, denying rumors circulating here this week that Italian investment corporation Gemina SpA, which is part of the Fiat industrial empire and controls Italian sportswear maker Fila SpA, had put forward a higher bid.
“I have no evidence that Gemina has made a bid,” said one well-placed banking source.
Now that most of GFT’s Italian creditor banks have approved the Plaid offer, negotiations are focusing on terms, although the sources declined to reveal any details.
As reported, Plaid has said it will pay about $248 million (400 billion lire) at current exchange rates to buy control of GFT, which has a host of designer licenses including Armani, Valentino, Montana, Ungaro, Calvin Klein and Joseph Abboud.
Furthermore, the sources said, Plaid didn’t seem to have any problems arranging financing for the acquisition, which was a stated condition of the offer. “There isn’t any worry about Plaid being able to come up with the financing,” one banking source said.
The source added that although the designers haven’t been asked formally to approve the Plaid bid, they informally have given the plan the nod.
“None of the designers are expected to withdraw their licenses as a result of a Plaid acquisition,” the source said.