Exclusive: Amazon, Forever 21 vying for bankrupt American Apparel - sources

Wed Jan 4, 2017 8:15pm EST
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By Jessica DiNapoli and Lauren Hirsch

(Reuters) - Online retailer Amazon.com Inc and teen apparel store chain Forever 21 Inc are among the companies weighing offers to acquire bankrupt American Apparel LLC, people familiar with the talks said on Wednesday.

The bankruptcy auction of Los Angeles-based American Apparel, which made its branding theme "Made in the U.S.A", will determine the future of a major clothing manufacturing plant in California, one of the most expensive U.S. states in terms of labor costs.

Keeping jobs in the United States has become a hot button political issue since the presidential election. Ford Motor Co on Tuesday reversed plans for a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and said it would add 700 jobs in Michigan after receiving criticism from President-elect Donald Trump.

See graphic here: (tmsnrt.rs/2gTjMhS)

Amazon and Forever 21, as well as California-based apparel maker Next Level Apparel and brand licensor Authentic Brands Group LLC, are in talks with American Apparel and its financial advisers about submitting offers ahead of a deadline on Friday, the people said.

Any successful offer would have to top a $66 million stalking horse bid by Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc, which American Apparel agreed to when it filed for bankruptcy in November.

Gildan's offer included an option to keep American Apparel's manufacturing plants in southern California, which employ about 3,500 workers, making American Apparel one of the biggest garment makers in the United States.

But Gildan plans to preserve only some of the California production should its bid prevail, the sources said. Many of Gildan's production facilities are in low-cost countries.   Continued...

An American Apparel store logo is pictured on a building along the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach, Florida March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri