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American Apparel, Creditors Clash on Auction Sale Date

With a potential auction looming after filing again for bankruptcy, American Apparel (asi/35297) is looking to postpone its sale, but not at the length of time urged by its unsecured creditors. In court papers filed on Thursday, American Apparel said it would push back the deadline for bids to January 3 from the original proposed deadline of December 19, and that it would delay holding an auction until January 5 rather than December 21.

American Apparel’s unsecured creditors’ committee sought to postpone the auction until January 18, according to court documents. “Interested parties likely need to form partnerships, joint ventures, and/or licensing arrangements that simply may not be possible to negotiate in the next few weeks,” the committee said, as reported by Reuters.

While the company agreed last month to be acquired by Gildan Activewear (asi/56842), its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing allowed it to become potentially subject to an auction process, where the company would be sold to the highest bidder.

American Apparel argued that the proposed four-week extension would put Gildan’s $66 million bid at risk. Under the terms of the agreement, Gildan could walk away if the process is extended as proposed by the committee. “Due to the extensive marketing process that has been undertaken already, an additional four weeks is highly unlikely to unearth new bidders,” American Apparel said.

In addition to risking the Gildan offer, American Apparel said that it can’t afford to run a protracted sale, noting in court documents that it’s spending $2 million a week to keep its operations going. The company has also issued layoff notices for almost 3,500 employees, including nearly 2,200 workers at its Los Angeles headquarters and manufacturing hub. The layoffs are scheduled to occur on January 7, though an American Apparel spokesperson told media outlets that layoffs notices were just a precaution and are not certain to happen if the company finds a new buyer, including finalizing its agreement with Gildan.

If the auction process happens, Gildan’s offer would be considered the initial bid, and the company would be entitled to a breakup fee and certain expense reimbursements if it is outbid by another buyer. Gildan has agreed to acquire American Apparel’s intellectual property rights and wholesale inventory, and has the option of retaining American Apparel’s Los Angeles-based manufacturing and distribution centers.

Garry Bell, vice president of corporate marketing and communications at Gildan, told Counselor last month that Gildan has to evaluate all of the assets before making any real determination whether American Apparel’s manufacturing facilities would stay in Los Angeles. A letter written by American Apparel’s HR officer (and obtained by California Apparel News) said that Gildan toured the company’s manufacturing facilities after the acquisition agreement and had additional tours planned over the next few weeks.

Gildan will not purchase American Apparel’s retail assets, but it will explore the idea of incorporating the company into its Branded Apparel business that sells to consumers through other retailers. Gildan’s consumer brands include Gold Toe, Secret and others.

Gildan generated $2.5 billion in consolidated net sales in 2015, up 11.7% from the previous year. The company has made several acquisitions in recent years, and in May it acquired Alstyle Apparel (asi/34817), formerly a division of Top 40 supplier Ennis (asi/52493), for a total of $110 million in cash.