Billionaire Ronald Burkle over the past two weeks has accumulated a 6 percent stake in beleaguered apparel maker American Apparel Inc., making him the second largest individual shareholder after founder Dov Charney.
Burkle, in a Thursday filling with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said that he bought 4.3 million shares of American Apparel for $5.9 million between June 10 and June 21.
Charney controls 38.1 million shares, which is more than 53 percent of outstanding shares. The next closest investor is institutional investor Fidelity International, with a 3.6 million share stake or 5.1 percent of shares.
Burkle said in his filing that he bought the shares because he considered them undervalued, would closely monitor the company’s performance and express his views to management if he feels necessary.
Burkle make his fortune in the grocery industry, but his investment company, Yucaipa Cos., also has invested in consumer products companies. In recent months, Yucaipa has attempted to gain a larger stake in bookseller Barnes & Noble and also owns a large amount of Barneys New York debt.
American Apparel’s financials and stock price have suffered since the downtown Los Angeles manufacturer and retailer had to lay off 1,500 workers last year who could not document their legal immigration status.
But the company in its own filing Thursday did report some positive news, saying it had been able to change some covenant terms in a credit agreement and avoid a default. In return, the company agreed to pay a higher annual interest rate, going from 15 percent to 17 percent, among other terms.
The lender, Lion/Hollywood LLC, will be entitled to board representation and has been issued warrants to buy 16 million common shares at an exercise price of $2 each.
American Apparel shares closed down 1 cent, or less than a percent, to $1.77 on the New York Alternet.
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