By Jessica DiNapoli
(Reuters) – Authentic Brands Group LLC won the auction on Sunday for the intellectual property of bankrupt U.S. shoe and accessories company Nine West Holdings Inc with a revised bid of about $350 million, people familiar with the matter said.
Authentic Brands, a brand development and marketing company, was bidding against shoe retailer DSW Inc (N:) for the well-known Nine West brand, found in department stores, the sources said. Authentic Brands had submitted an initial offer for the Nine West and Bandolino brands of $200 million, according to court papers.
The proceeds from the sale will go toward paying down some of Nine West’s approximately $1.5 billion in debt.
Nine West filed for bankruptcy in April, after missing an earlier interest payment. Many U.S. retailers are struggling, with more than 15 filing for bankruptcy last year as shoppers buy online.
Nine West, its private equity owner Sycamore Partners, Authentic Brands and DSW did not immediately return requests for comment.
DSW submitted a bid for Nine West last week, and was interested in the brand for its own stable of private label lines, sources said. The retailer has over 500 stores in the U.S.
Nine West’s creditors plan to take ownership of the company’s remaining assets, including its jeanswear business, through a restructuring proposal.
Authentic Brands owns brands including women’s wear line Juicy Couture and high-end cowboy boot label Frye.
A group of creditors in Nine West are looking into legal claims against Sycamore Partners, seeking greater recovery on their investment, according to court papers. The creditors have claimed in court documents that Sycamore may have acquired some of Nine West’s assets, such as the high-end Kurt Geiger and Stuart Weitzman shoe businesses, for less than their true value, according to the papers.
Sycamore acquired the Jones Group Inc, then the parent of Nine West, in a deal valued at $2.2 billion in 2014.
The company has proposed giving the creditors more money from its bankruptcy loan to look into the claims, according to a court document. A U.S. bankruptcy judge must approve the loan.
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