PRESSMANS, DICKSON TO TALK EMPLOYMENT
Byline: Vicki M. Young
NEW YORK — Gene and Robert Pressman, who currently own and operate Barneys Inc. and serve as co-chief executive officers, will be entering employment negotiations with Dickson Concepts Ltd. this year and are expecting to continue to play a role in the specialty business.
However, Dickson has “no obligation” to employ any members of the Pressman family after Dickson buys Barneys Inc., according to the definitive takeover agreement reached last week.
The Pressmans are guaranteed the opportunity to negotiate with Dickson, according to the agreement.
Any employment deal reached would require a written confirmation from the Pressman family attesting to the “accuracy and completeness” of warranties in the pact. Approval of the unsecured creditors’ committee, which was a party to the takeover pact, is not required.
Other members of the Pressman family who currently work at Barneys, but would have to negotiate for positions after a Dickson takeover are Bonnie and Holly Pressman, the wives of Gene and Robert, respectively. Bonnie is executive vice president and women’s fashion director. Holly is executive vice president, corporate services. Also, Phyllis Pressman, Gene and Bob’s mother, is executive vice president and general merchandise manager in charge of Chelsea Passage and chairperson of the executive committee. Nancy Pressman, Gene’s sister, is a senior buyer of private label collections. Another sister, Liz Pressman, is divisional merchandise manager of Chelsea Baby.
According to court papers filed Monday, Barneys must seek court approval of the takeover pact by Feb. 15, 1998. That time frame gives the parties 90 days to hammer out a payout plan for creditors, plus 60 days to consider any additional bids for Barneys. Court approval of the pact, assuming agreement on the payout, is expected by March 15, 1998.
As reported Tuesday, a new bid must be at least $9 million higher than Dickson’s $247 million offer. The $9 million covers the required $8 million breakup fee to Dickson plus an additional $1 million above the Dickson bid.
The terms of the pact also provide that Isetan Co. Ltd. would retain only the licensing rights to operate Barneys stores in Japan. Isetan, the landlord of Barneys’ three U.S. flagships, in Beverly Hills, Chicago and on Madison Avenue, currently owns the license throughout Asia. Those rights are the subject of an arbitration proceeding initiated by Barneys to terminate the license. Isetan operates two freestanding Barneys stores in Japan.
The buyout provides for annual rent of $9 million with the possibility of increasing to $12 million based on sales. Isetan was not a party to the agreement, and there is no assurance that it will go along with its terms.
Isetan could not be reached for comment.