Drumroll, Please: The saga over the bidding for Perry Ellis International Inc. could be coming to a close.
Rumblings surfaced late Monday that a decision could be near, maybe as early as Tuesday, because at least one if not two of the inbound licensees have given Perry Ellis a response to a query from Randa Accessories regarding moving over the license with Perry to new ownership should Randa get approval to acquire the company.
Randa Accessories earlier this month upped its offer to $28.90 from $28 a share in hopes of gaining an audience with the Perry Ellis Special Committee that is charged with evaluating the best deal for the company and its shareholders. It was successful in that regard, but said it needed time to reach out to inbound licensees to get approval for a change in control of the company. Financial sources and licensing experts said that typical in most licensing agreements is a clause that allows the licensee to end the contract if the licensor changes hands. One of the perceived stumbling blocks has been whether any of them would OK moving the license with Perry Ellis to Randa, a company with a background in accessories but no apparel licensing history. And there’s already speculation that at least one of the brands likely elected to stay with Perry Ellis.
The company currently has an agreement in place since June with George Feldenkreis to take the company private at $27.50 a share, or a transaction valued at $437 million. Feldenkreis is the company’s founder, and was chairman until last September. In the Feldenkreis agreement, there is no contingency in place requiring that licensees agree to the change before the deal can close.
It wasn’t immediately clear which of the brands had already sent in a response to Perry Ellis. One inbound licensee that would have been on Randa’s reach-out list is Nike Inc., which is said to account for a business valued at more than $100 million. Others on that list include Callaway Golf and PGA Tour, both sizable businesses in the inbound licensing front.
Randa wants to make sure the licensees stay onboard so there will be income coming in to support the anticipated operating structure, not to mention the ability to pay down debt from the requisite financing for its deal, which is valued at about $459 million.
Executives at Randa could not be reached for comment. The company’s financial adviser, William Susman at Threadstone Advisors, declined comment. A spokesman for Perry Ellis did not respond to a request for comment by press time.