NEW YORK — Bidermann Industries U.S.A. is on the block, as a whole or in pieces, it’s indicated in a suit filed in U.S. District Court here.
In fact, a buyer for the group has made an offer, the court papers show. It’s understood that Bidermann has yet to respond.
The proposed purchase was revealed last week in the suit brought against Bidermann Industries, the domestic arm of the French manufacturer Bidermann SA.
The action was filed by a French investment banking firm seeking to collect a $100,000 fee from Bidermann Industries for putting the deal together.
In papers attached to the suit, filed by the investment banker La Compagnie Financiere Edmond de Rothschild
Banque, a letter form a company, whose name was removed from the papers, promises to purchase “all of the capital stock of Bidermann Industries.”
The proposed purchase price was also removed.
Previously, Maurice Bidermann, chairman of Bidermann SA, has refused to comment on industry speculation that the U.S. operation was up for sale. Contacted Friday, Michel Zelnik, president of Bidermann Industries, declined to comment on the court papers.
A spokeswoman for Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., which licenses its women’s apparel to Bidermann, said Sunday that Polo executives couldn’t be reached for comment.
It’s understood that the board hasn’t formally put the company on the block, but has retained an investment company to investigate the value of the company and flush out prospective buyers.
Rothschild Banque asserts that after it informed Bidermann Industries on Aug. 4 that it had found a buyer, Bidermann Industries retained a rival banker, Lazard Freres & Co., and failed to pay the fee to Rothschild, both in breach of a June 6 agreement with Rothschild.
At the same time, separate papers attached to the Rothschild suit refer to a possible sale of Bidermann Industries’ Gold Toe label by itself.
Besides Gold Toe, Bidermann Industries has the license for Ralph Lauren Womenswear. Among the other businesses, it owns Arrow Shirts and produces Yves Saint Laurent men’s wear for the U.S.
– Fairchild News Service

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