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Whitehall Jewellers goes for financial restructuring

05
Oct '05
Nation's specialty jewelry headquarter Whitehall Jewellers Inc announced that it entered into a series of transactions on October 3, 2005 designed to significantly improve its financial condition. The Company has entered into agreements with investment funds managed by Prentice Capital Management, L.P. and another investor (collectively, "Prentice") to provide financing to the Company.

The first stage of this financing is a $30 million secured bridge loan being made today. The bridge loan bears interest at the rate of 18 percent per annum and matures as early as December 31, 2005. In connection with the bridge loan the Company issued 7-year warrants with an exercise price of $.75 per share to Prentice for 2,792,462 shares of the Company's common stock (i.e., 19.9 percent of the number of shares currently outstanding).

The Company also announced that it had commenced an arbitration proceeding relating to Beryl Raff's employment with the Company.

In addition, the Company, its banks and Prentice have entered into an agreement with key trade vendors who hold more than 90 percent of the Company's trade debt. This agreement will facilitate the purchase of fresh inventory for the holiday season and provide for full payment of all amounts owed to those vendors over time, secured by a lien on substantially all of the Company's assets ranking junior to the liens securing the Company's bank debt and debt to Prentice.

Finally, the Company announcedthat it also has reached agreement with its banks, LaSalle, Back Bay and Bank of America, to increase the maximum borrowings under its credit facility, depending on borrowing base calculations, by $15 million to $140 million and extending the term of the facility until 2008.


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