Financially troubled retailer Steve & Barry's said that BHY S&B Holdings, a newly formed affiliate of investment firms Bay Harbour Management and York Capital Management, was the winning bidder for the company at a court auction hearing in New York on Wednesday.
The bid of $168 million "to acquire certain assets" of Steve & Barry's is subject to court approval, but is expected to be completed on Aug. 25. Steve & Barry's filed for Chapter 11 protection in July.
Under the terms of the purchase agreement, "The majority of Steve & Barry's 276 stores will continue to serve customers," per the company. However, the fate of numerous stores in the process of being opened or built, including a new flagship store in New York, was not revealed but likely will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
In addition to acquiring merchandise inventories and transfer rights to Steve & Barry's store leases, BHY S&B Holdings, New York, "will acquire all Steve & Barry's intellectual property rights, including its celebrity and brand licenses, and the company's key facilities, including its Port Washington, N.Y., headquarters, Columbus, Ohio distribution center and certain overseas offices."
Among the investors in BH S&B Holdings are Steve Shore and Barry Prevor, who co-founded Steve & Barry's in 1988. The two childhood friends from Long Island, N.Y., initially found success by licensing college and university logos and selling T-shirts and all other items at under $10. In 2006 the company unveiled Starbury basketball shoes, via a deal with NBA player Stephon Marbury, which sold for $14.98. That was followed by a clothing and accessories lines from actress Sarah Jessica Parker called Bitten and an EleVen line from tennis star Venus Williams.
Parker will remain with Steve & Barry's under its new ownership, at least for the time being, as the company released a statement from her that said, in part, "I am very proud of what we've been able to accomplish with the Bitten brand . . . I'm very pleased that Steve & Barry's will be able to continue to deliver on that mission and look forward to continuing our strong partnership." Williams also appears to still be aligned with the company as she has worn items from her self-designed EleVen line at Wimbledon and during the Olympics in Beijing. She also is pictured in EleVen wear in ads for the U.S. Tennis Open, which begins on Aug. 25 in New York.
Other lines that will remain in-store include those from actress Amanda Bynes, surfer Laird Hamilton, NBA player Ben Wallace and golfer Bubba Watson.
However, the alliance between Marbury and Steve & Barry's apparently is ending. Marbury's contract with the retailer expires this year, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and he has approached Amazon.com about selling his Starbury line. In addition, in papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan on Monday, Marbury's attorneys claim he is still owed at least $2.2 million in unpaid royalties, according to a report at TheDeal.com.