Barneys gets new owner in debt-for-equity swap

New York -- Barneys New York said that it has reached an agreement with its largest lender, Perry Capital, and other lenders to significantly reduce the retailer’s debt and improve its capital structure. Under the arrangement, Perry Capital has become the majority owner of Barneys. Under a debt-for-equity swap with Perry Capital, as well as other lenders, Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Cos and current owner Istithmar World, the chain's long-term debt will fall to $50 million from $590 million. The deal makes Perry Capital the majority owner of Barneys.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with our partners that will significantly reduce our debt and provide the company with the funding to accelerate the execution of our successful business strategy,” stated Barneys CEO Mark Lee. “This agreement provides us with increased free cash flow that will be used to revitalize our stores, invest in and further enhance our customer experience at a time when our operational financial performance is very strong.”

Barneys reported double-digit comparable sales growth and a 40% increase in annual EBITDA for the full year 2011 compared with 2010.

“Barneys New York is an extraordinary brand that will become even stronger through this transaction,” said Richard Perry, CEO of Perry Capital. “We are confident that the new capital structure will provide the Barneys management team with the financial flexibility it needs to continue its already impressive performance.”


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