Nine West Holdings on Tuesday filed for an extra $22 million in debtor-in-possession funds in light of delays to its Chapter 11-protected restructuring, according to documents filed Tuesday in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The filing comes amid ongoing objections from some lenders.
By Oct. 31, "it had become clear … that the Debtors' emergence from Chapter 11 might not occur until March 2019," the company said, according to the documents, adding that the "extended timeline created a need not only to extend the existing DIP maturities of January 15, 2019, but also to raise additional financing to fund working capital needs and professional fee expenses" arising during the January to March period.
The footwear and apparel company filed for bankruptcy protection in April after years of sales struggles and financial difficulty. The namesake Nine West brand itself, along with the Bandolino footwear brand that was also part of the Nine West Holdings stable was sold in a July bankruptcy auction to Authentic Brands Group for $340 million.
A restructuring plan that Nine West in October said had the support of parties holding 85% of its secured debt and 80% of its unsecured debt — a deal that would have wiped $1 billion off its loan balance while paying secured lenders in full — is failing to hold.
By the end of October, "it became clear" that more funds would be needed to keep the company going, including paying for product for merchandising, not just because the timeframe is being extended but also because the negotiations are "expected to be a contentious and contested confirmation process that is occurring in parallel to an ongoing and active mediation process," the company said in court this week.
Earlier in October, Nine West filed a revised plan of reorganization for its remaining brands — One Jeanswear Group, The Jewelry Group, Kasper Group and Anne Klein — with the support of most of its creditors.
Meanwhile, a group of its unsecured creditors asked a federal bankruptcy court for permission to sue the brand's private equity owner, Sycamore Partners, over an alleged fraudulent transfer and other claims totaling "well over $1 billion," according to a court filing. That group has also claimed further that Sycamore, by carving out valuable pieces of the Jones Group, netted some $300 million from its leveraged buyout as Nine West careened toward bankruptcy, according to those earlier court documents.
The contentious nature of the bankruptcy process is unsurprising in an era of private equity-ownership that often gives retailers and brands, under pressure to respond to challenges in an evolving market, precious few resources to execute the necessary merchandising and marketing changes.