HMX Group files Chapter 11

by Harry Sheff

NEW YORK—HMX Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. HMX Group’s brands include Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Coppley, Christopher Blue and Sansabelt. Licensed brands include Bobby Jones, Argyle Culture and Austin Reed. HMX has factories in Rochester, NY, Des Plaines, Ill. and Hamilton, Ontario.

In a statement released today, the company said: “[HMX’s] existing lender has ratified and re-affirmed up to a $65 million credit facility. The DIP facility, subject to additional terms and conditions, provides immediate liquidity while the company pursues strategic alternatives, enabling the company to pay vendors for goods and services received after the filing. In addition, HMX Acquisition Corp. is seeking customary authority from the Court to continue operating its business in the ordinary course.”

That debtor-in-possession credit facility comes from Salus Capital. In a separate statement, Salus president Andrew H. Moser commented, “We are pleased to provide a DIP facility to HMX Group that provides the company with the liquidity, time and a runway to effectuate a transaction that seeks to maximize value for all of the company’s constituencies — its employees, management, shareholders, vendors, and the estate. HMX Group has our unwavering support during this critical period and we are delighted that our transaction will provide them with the necessary resources to run an efficient and orderly sale process.”

HMX Acquisition Corp. is awaiting approval for a stalking horse bid from Authentic Brands Group, LLC, a self-described brand development and licensing company. Authentic Brands, which is based in New York, has a portfolio that includes action sports/mixed martial arts brand Tapout, the Marilyn Monroe brand, the Prince tennis brand and the Ektelon racquetball brand. According to the statement released by HMX, Authentic Brands’ plan would be to license HMX’s brands to another group that would keep all operations, including the factories, unchanged.

Yesterday, the trade union that represents many of HMX’s factory workers launched a campaign to combat the possibility that bankruptcy and new ownership may threaten those manufacturing facilities.

“We’re ready to fight again to save these good manufacturing jobs,” Workers United president Noel Beasley said yesterday. “We are launching a North American campaign to keep HMX from liquidating our jobs along with the company’s assets.”

US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helped HMX secure new financing back in August.

HMX will continue to operate during the proceedings. Its Canadian affiliates are not included in the filing.