Monday, January 26, 2009

HartMarx Files for Bankruptcy

The Chicago-based luxury apparel maker and owner of such brands as Hickey Freeman, was next in line today in bankruptcy court, this time in the Northern District of Illinois, with the pretext that it is seeking "strategic alternatives." The most recent (but definitely not last) luxury retailer seeking Chapter 11, has obtained a $160 million DIP, which, as speculated, is not from new money sources (non-existent) but rather from pre-petition lender Wachovia, which is becoming the norm. Additionally, the DIP facility earns the usurious rate of Prime + 575, and by maturing on July 1, 2009, gives the company just enough time to sell itself promptly or liquidate with dignity.

Moelis & Company (most likely represented by flamboyant Bill Derrough) is advising the company "to evaluate strategic and financing alternatives, including the identification of potential parties to invest in or acquire the Company."

And if anyone is keeping track, as the company owns a lot of soon-to-be-empty retail locations in malls and elsewhere, the lost rent revenue will transform into yet another nail in the rapidly closing coffin of the commercial mortgage backed securities market.
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