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Ron Burkle is eyeing American Apparel's debt

August 23, 2011 |  3:45 pm

American apparel

Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle is in discussions with American Apparel Inc. to refinance a portion of its $160-million debt load, according to a source close to the talks.

Burkle last year bought a 6% stake in the L.A. clothing maker and retailer, only to reduce those investments this year. The billionaire is said to be a big fan of the company and is close with Tom Casey, American Apparel's new acting president.

American Apparel faced a severe liquidity crisis earlier this year, only to be rescued in April by a team of Canadian investors.

In his most recent regulatory filing, Burkle owned 3.1% of American Apparel's shares.

American Apparel Chief Executive Dov Charney could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Burkle's investment firm, Yucaipa Cos., declined to comment.

The news was first reported by the New York Post, which said there wasn't a lot of urgency to get the deal done right away because American Apparel has seen positive business trends lately. The report also said American Apparel had received at least one other refinancing offer.

Shares of American Apparel rose 6 cents, or 7.3%, to 92 cents Tuesday.


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Photo: An American Apparel store. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times