Aeropostale Seeks to Auction Assets in Bankruptcy Wind-Downby
Reorganization as standalone ‘is not feasible,’ retailer says
Chain weighing possible claims against Sycamore Partners
Teen clothing chain Aeropostale Inc. is preparing to sell all its assets and may bring claims against the private equity firm it said drove it into bankruptcy.
The New York-based company said in court papers July 15 that “reorganization on a standalone basis is not feasible.” Instead, it will look for a “stalking horse” to make the lead bid at an auction next month and will pass the proceeds of any sale to creditors.
The retailer also said it’s still reviewing 11,000 pages of documents and depositions of key individuals that senior lender Sycamore Partners produced during a bankruptcy probe and is evaluating whether to pursue claims against the private equity firm and affiliates.
Aeropostale entered bankruptcy in May, saying Sycamore used a supplier it controlled to trigger the filing. The retailer also says the private equity firm controls its biggest secured lender, Aero Investors LLC, an agent to a $150 million term loan.
In court papers explaining its bankruptcy plan, Aeropostale said that it may seek a judgment that disallows or lowers the priority of Aero’s claim. Aero had from the beginning of the bankruptcy called the retailer’s reorganization plans “illusory” and said liquidation would be the most realistic course, according to court documents.
Aeropostale said it will try to locate a lead bidder by Aug. 15 and hold an auction Aug. 22, if there’s any indication of competitive interest. The company listed $390 million in debt and about $354 million in assets in the Chapter 11 petition filed May 4 in Manhattan.
The case is In re Aeropostale Inc., 16-11275, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).