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Hartmarx to Select Buyer this Week

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 21, 2009 4:20PM

Hartmarx, the local suit-maker which filed for bankruptcy early this year after U.S. banks cut off credit amid the global financial meltdown, is expected to select a buyer later this week. Emerisque Brands resubmitted its bid for the troubled clothier Tuesday. Emerisque is believed to be the only bidder that will keep Hartmarx's U.S. operations largely intact. The London-based private-equity firm is interested in "acquiring substantially all of the assets" of the Chicago-based suit maker, and said it intends to operate the company "as a single going concern." The firm said in a prepared statement that "we believe in the potential and future growth of the Hartmarx family of brands, and recognize the value of a 'Made in America' label in the United States and in markets around the world," the company said in a prepared statement.

Emerisque is expected to offer 80 cents on the dollar for Hartmarx's $114 million in debt. Those funds are owed to Wells-Fargo bank, which owns the debt. Wells-Fargo took $25 billion in taxpayer dollars last October as part of the federal bank bailout. While Hartmarx's board of directors will vote on the proposal, the bank still has the option to reject the offer. Workers at the Midwestern and New York state plants have promised a sit-in Wells-Fargo forces the plants to close in a liquidation sale.