Wall Street Abuzz
As the financial markets levitate towards year-end on the merger and private equity frenzy, we're starting to see some interesting, time capsule-esque stories. From an Andrew Sorkin piece today (my bolds):
American Apparel, the casual clothing chain whose socially-conscious manufacturing, sexually-charged advertising and snug-fitting T-shirts have generated a cult-like following, will be sold to a little-known investment firm for $382.5 million, according to people briefed on the matter.In 1999, money manager Bill Fleckenstein began compiling anecdotal reports of stock market madness in a series he called "The Mania Chronicles." If anyone's interested in starting a 2006-2007 version to chronicle the current deal-related boom, I suspect one could do worse than begin with a news report that contains "little-known investment firm" and "vibrators."
The decision to sell the privately held company, expected to be announced tomorrow, is a surprise move by the company’s eccentric founder, Dov Charney, who is known for exercising strict, and at times controversial, control over the retailer’s operations.
Mr. Charney has personally photographed many of the semi-naked women featured in American Apparel advertising and is known for hiring employees, most of them female, on the spot during phone calls or at parties.
American Apparel’s buyer, Endeavor Acquisition Corporation, is a small, publicly traded investment group created last year, with less than $125 million in assets.
Mr. Charney has gained a reputation as the Hugh Hefner of retailing, decorating his stores with covers of Penthouse magazine and acknowledging in interviews that he sleeps with employees. In lawsuits filed in 2005, several employees accused Mr. Charney of creating a work environment in which women did not feel safe.
They asserted, for example, that Mr. Charney conducted job interviews in his underwear, and that he gave vibrators to at least one female worker.