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Can Barneys Pay Suppliers with $28.1 Million?

Barneys New York has just $28.1 million left in working capital to fund its bankruptcy after the embattled luxury retail chain pays off its pre-petition secured lenders.

That just might be enough to last through October, but barely, some financial observers in the fashion industry concluded.

The high-end luxury retailer last week received interim court approval on its $218 million debtor-in-possession financing facility from Brigade Capital Management and B. Riley Financial. It previously received court approval to use $75 million of the total amount of the DIP facility.

The parties are back in court on Sept. 4 for final approval. The financing allows Barneys to “take out” the existing secured lenders, including an asset-based loan of $141 million from Wells Fargo and a smaller term loan of $48.8 million from TSSG, an affiliate of private equity firm TPG.

Barneys filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition on Aug. 6 in a Manhattan bankruptcy court sitting in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. It also plans to close 15 locations during the bankruptcy process, leaving a mix of seven flagship and warehouse outlet stores in operation.

After the takeout of the secured lenders, Barneys is left with $28.1 million in working capital. While payroll and payments to some service providers are a must, what Barneys really needs is access to more inventory to stock its shelves.

Some credit advisors–such as factors–are telling clients to ask for cash on delivery, or COD, as a condition for shipment of goods. Another option is consignment, but the consignor needs to file the required paperwork governing commercial transactions. These are referred to as Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, but because there’s some uncertainty on the status of goods in the event of a liquidation, some credit firms say COD is the better option.

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Whether the $28.1 million is enough, however, is debatable.

Bankruptcies are expensive. In addition to DIP fees, there are other administrative costs that need to be taken into account. And all of those variable have some credit advisors concerned. That’s another reason for advising clients to require COD terms prior to shipping any inventory to Barneys.

Barneys has already filed documents in bankruptcy court requesting approval of bidding procedures so it can move expeditiously to sell the company. The paperwork envisions bids by Oct. 24, followed by an auction to be held no later than Oct. 29.

According to the documents, Barneys began the hunt for a buyer last month. The retailer’s investor banker, Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc., reached out to both strategic and financial investors. The document further said that several parties have “already entered into confidentiality agreements with the debtors and have begun conducting the diligence necessary to analyze the opportunity,” with others potentially to follow.

The company is hoping one of those parties who signed a confidentiality agreement will become the so-called “stalking horse,” a move that will set the base terms of the sale and hopefully bring in a better offer at the auction. That’s presuming there’s a going-concern bid submitted by Oct. 24. If not, Barneys would then liquidate.

Also keeping close tabs on the bankruptcy process will be the newly formed Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors. The Committee was formed last Thursday. According to court papers filed last week, the seven-member Committee includes: Simon Property Group; Flagship 660 Owner LLC and Flagship Partners; Prada USA Corp.; New York-New Jersey Regional Joint Board, affiliated with Workers United; Hilldun Corp.; Chloe, a division of Richemont North America, Inc., and CSS Building Services.