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Hickey Freeman auction draws single bidder

Rochester Business Journal
December 18, 2012

The future of Rochester-based clothing manufacturer Hickey Freeman may become clear this week.

An auction for the assets of HMX Acquisition Corp., which includes Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, was scheduled for Monday. However, documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court show that during the hearing, no other company challenged the initial bid of Authentic Brands Group LLC.

HMX filed for Chapter 11 on Oct. 19, saying it was unable to fulfill orders because of problems financing its debt. The company, which employs 450 Hickey Freeman workers in Rochester, listed liabilities of more than $50 million and assets of less than $50,000.

In conjunction with the initial Chapter 11 filing, HMX asked the court for approval of the sale of its assets to Authentic Brands. The Wall Street Journal reported in October that Authentic Brands offered $70.1 million for the company.

Under a potential sale agreement, Authentic Brands would own the company but license the HMX brands back to a new entity owned by current HMX CEO Doug Williams. Authentic Brands CEO James Salter said last week that the company has done similar deals to turnaround struggling brands in the past.

Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday to review the sale of HMX’s assets to Authentic Brands.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who has been outspoken about his desire for HMX to find a bidder committed to keeping Hickey Freeman in Rochester, released a statement Tuesday.

“For the last several weeks, I have spent a great deal of time making sure that Hickey Freeman stays in the hands of an owner with intentions to keep the company and its jobs in Rochester,” he said. “Now it appears that we have succeeded in that goal, as the winning bidder has committed to just that.

“This is very good news, but there is still more to be done. I will continue to work with the company, its workers, the union and other stakeholders to make sure Hickey Freeman survives and thrives in Rochester.”

 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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