Burkle's investment firm Yucaipa Cos. bought up a piece of Barneys' debt in November and he has since tendered an offer to add "at least another $50 million" through a loan deal that would give him a full 80 percent of Barneys' common equity. The WSJ article says that a person close to Istithmar said the proposal isn't on the table. The other group with a hand in the game is Perry Capital, which has a controlling position in Barney's senior debt. Perry Capital would have to sign off on any potential deals. last fall we learned that Perry Capital had been approached by the Canadian department store chain Holt Renfrew on an offer of join control of Barney's.
What would Burkle do for Barneys? Certainly there's the cash infusion and his Yucaipa company seems to be expanding from its grocery store roots. The firm has invested in jewelry designer Stephen Webster, retailer Scoop, Zac Posen and Sean John. The luxury market is still hard hit but there have been signs of life, especially on the upper edge of luxury, Burkle could help Barneys be poised to take advantage of the resurgence.