Barneys gets new owner in debt-for-equity deal

NEW YORK- Barneys New York Inc has struck a deal with Perry Capital that will significantly reduce the luxury chain's large debt load and turn the hedge fund into its majority owner, Women's Wear Daily reported on Monday.

Under a debt-for-equity swap with Perry Capital, Barneys largest lender, as well as other lenders The Yucaipa Companies and current owner Istithmar World, the chain's long-term debt will fall to $50 million from $590 million, WWD reported, citing Barneys.

Representatives for Barneys or Perry were not immediately available for comment.

Barneys, which operates nine department stores, including a flagship on Manhattan's Madison Avenue and a chain of less expensive co-op stores, said in February it had hired a restructuring firm to help it with debts coming due this year.

The following day, on Feb. 9, Standard & Poor's lowered Barneys' credit rating to 'CC' from 'CCC,' saying its debt level was "unsustainable."

Jones Group Inc sold Barneys for $942 million in 2007 to Istithmar World, the investment arm of state-owned Dubai World. That acquisition left Barneys with a $660 million debt load. (Reporting By Phil Wahba)

© Thomson Reuters 2014 All rights reserved.