Kenneth Cole chair sees future in 'going private'
NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions' board of directors has formed a special committee of independent directors to consider a non-binding proposal from Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief creative officer, that would take the company private.
The company announced Friday that its board of directors has received a non-binding proposal from Cole, who is the holder of approximately 47% of the company's outstanding common stock (representing approximately 89% of the voting power), to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company's Class A common stock that he does not currently directly or indirectly own for $15 per share in cash.
In a letter to the board of directors, Cole explained why he thought private ownership was the best option for the company.
"The proposed transaction will ensure the company has the flexibility and structure to successfully navigate our market environment in the years to come. Recent market challenges have created a sharply competitive landscape, and I believe it is now more important than ever to embrace a more entrepreneurial perspective where we are all incentivized to grow and develop our company's products, brand and business with a longer term perspective," said Cole. "I believe it is increasingly difficult to develop this type of culture in a public company context, where the public markets are increasingly focused on short-term results. I am convinced that private ownership is in the best interests of the business and the organization and that this proposal is in the best interests of the shareholders."
Kenneth Cole Productions' special committee is comprised of all of the directors of the company other than Kenneth Cole and Paul Blum. The special committee is authorized to retain independent financial advisors and legal counsel to assist it in its work, the company reported.