HMX Acquisition Corp., owner of the Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx clothing brands, filed for bankruptcy protection with a plan to sell its assets to Authentic Brands Group LLC.
The company listed assets of less than $50,000 and debt of more than $50 million in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, where it’s based. Affiliate HMX Poland Sp. Zoo, which owns all the equity in HMX Acquisition, listed as much as $50 million in assets.
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney wore suits made by the company at the second presidential debate this week, with Obama wearing a Hart Schaffner Marx and Romney opting for a Hickey Freeman, according to a Women’s Wear Daily article.
HMX Acquisition agreed to sell virtually all its assets to New York-based Authentic Brands on Oct. 16 for an undisclosed price that will be tested at a bankruptcy auction, according to court papers.
Jared D. Zajac, a lawyer for HMX, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call after normal business hours seeking comment on the filing and the proposed sale. Nick Woodhouse, a spokesman for Authentic Brands, didn’t reply an e-mail seeking comment on its planned acquisition. Gitae Lee, a spokeswoman for HMX Group, also didn’t answer an e-mail for comment.
The 125-year-old clothier founded by immigrant brothers Harry and Max Hart traces its roots as far back as 1872 after the Great Chicago Fire, according to its website. It officially became Hart Schaffner Marx in 1887 when the Hart’s cousins Levi Abt and Marcus Marx left the company and Joseph Schaffner, another cousin, joined. The suitmaker was the first to tailor suits for different body types and the first to introduce zippered pants.
Known as Hartmarx Corp. (HTMXQ:US) when it sought court protection in January 2009, the company was bought out of bankruptcy for $128.4 million in June 2009 by private-equity firm Emerisque Brands U.K. Ltd. and its partner, SKNL North America BV. Hartmarx listed assets of $483 million and debt totaling $261 million as of October 2008 in its bankruptcy filing.
The company’s existing lender, Salus Capital Partners LLC, has agreed to provide HMX with $65 million in financing to help fund operations while in bankruptcy, according to statements from Salus and HMX. No court documents have been submitted to verify the financing agreement.
HMX LLC, Quartet Real Estate LLC and HMX DTC Co. will also seek court protection, according to court documents.
The 30 largest creditors without collateral backing their claims are owed about $11.2 million, according to court papers. Pacificways Ltd., based in Hong Kong, is the biggest with a claim of $1.5 million.
The case is In re HMX Acquisition Corp., 12-14300 U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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