John Varvatos has filed for bankruptcy. With assets of up to $ 50 million and liabilities of at least $ 100 million, the New York-based fashion company has revealed plans to sell to a subsidiary of Lion Capital LLP, one of the investors of the company, to ensure the sustainability of the business. long-term success. To facilitate the transaction, John Varvatos Enterprises said Wednesday that it had filed a Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy petition with the US District of Delaware bankruptcy court.
The 20-year-old fashion brand, known for “translating the best vintage looks and sewing techniques in a modern and original style for men, said in a statement on Wednesday that the proposed sale to a London subsidiary based in Lion Capital will be subject to bankruptcy court approval and may include a court-supervised auction at which other bidders may offer a higher price for the assets of the company. has committed to provide financing to the debtor in possession (subject to court approval) which, “combined with the company’s projected cash flows, is expected to support its operations during the restructuring process.”
Regarding the $ 100 million and more that Varvatos owes to creditors, Bloomberg Law notes that a group of class action claimants is the company’s largest unsecured creditor, with a claim of approximately $ 3.5 million. “The multi-million dollar sum arises from the class action brought by Tessa Know against Varvatos before a federal court in New York on her behalf and on that of sales associates of similar sex, accusing the brand of salary discrimination based on sex .
Knox submitted that John Varvatos company policy provided for a clothing allowance of $ 12,000 for male vendors so that they could wear the brand’s clothing while working, as required by the same company policy . The problem, according to Knox: neither she, nor any of the other women “who are currently employed or have been employed at any time after February 1, 2014, as business associates in a store operated by John Varvatos in the United States Were not providing the same benefit.
While female employees received a 50% discount for shopping at Varvatoss’ sister brand, AllSaints, the discount value which was capped at $ 5,000 per year, Knox who worked as a partner Sales in the East Hampton, New York store of Varvatos from August 2016 to February 2017 were thus the subject of complaints under the federal law on equal remuneration.
In March, following a jury trial, Justice Gabriel Gorenstein, federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordered Varvatos to pay more than $ 3.5 million, including award of damages and punitive damages. the brand said in light of the jury’s verdict and the court order, John Varvatos Enterprises is fully committed to treating all employees fairly and equitably, and we do not discriminate between men and women in determining compensation. We respectfully disagree with the court decision and are considering all of our legal options. “
Regarding bankruptcy, the namesake founder of the brands said on Monday: We have taken decisive action to address the challenges that all retailers face in today’s environment and we remain extremely confident that our brand, which is celebrating its 20 years of activity will emerge. even stronger. We have a passionate team, a relentless global consumer and a commitment to our customers, whom we hope to serve for many years to come.
*The bankruptcy case is In re: John Varvatos Enterprises Inc. et al., 1: 20-bk-11043, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
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