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Elie Tahari ThisClose to Acquiring (Saving) Catherine Malandrino

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So remember that rumor we heard last week, about how Catherine Malandrino hadn't paid staff in weeks and the company was on the verge of shutting down? Well, turns out that rumor wasn't that far off-base. Today's WWD reports that Elie Tahari is "this close" to "finalizing a deal to acquire the Catherine Malandrino brand... it is believed to include some of the debt on Malandrino's books." Details on what's happening, after the jump.

According to the story, Malandrino has been on the market for an investor—someone with "turnaround expertise"—since 2010.

While Malandrino has had discussions with several parties, for a while it looked like it might be acquired by Kellwood. Market reaction to the possible acquisition was favorable, given Kellwood’s operating expertise. Those discussions got serious in May, but talks broke off about two months later.

Financial pressures following a retail expansion in 2007 and 2008, shortly before consumer spending nosedived, have not helped Malandrino’s bottom line. Sources said that when Malandrino’s talks with Kellwood broke down, the firm’s financial pressures helped open the door for a Tahari bid.

· Elie Tahari Nears Deal to Buy Catherine Malandrino [WWD]
· Catherine Malandrino store closed, "On the verge of shutting down" [Racked]