WSJ: Burkle Offers To Control Barneys

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Billionaire Ronald Burkle has offered to invest at least $50 million for a controlling stake in luxury department store Barneys New York, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Burkle’s investment firm Yucaipa Cos bought a large amount of the chain’s debt late last year and has now proposed a loan deal that would leave him owning 80 percent of the chain’s equity, the Journal said.

The remaining stake would be held by Barneys’ current owner, Istithmar World Capital, the investment arm of state-owned Dubai World, the paper said.

The Journal cited a Dec. 11 letter from Burkle to Istithmar’s then-CEO David Jackson, reviewed by the paper.

A person close to Istithmar said Burkle’s proposal was not under consideration, according to the Journal.

Officials for Yucaipa and Istithmar could not immediately be reached by Reuters, but the Journal quoted a spokesman for Burkle as saying it was “a private correspondence between ourselves and Istithmar”.

“We are surprised that it ended up with the Journal and don’t think any comment is appropriate,” the spokesman added, according to the Journal. (Reporting by Martinne Geller)