Rock & Republic Bailout Comes Unstitched


The bankrupt denim label Rock & Republic was facing liquidation after a $60 million deal to save it unraveled, the New York Post reported Friday.

New York investment firm Bluestar Alliance agreed in September to buy the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in a plan that would have allowed controversial founder Michael Ball to continue as the creative force behind the brand.

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But even as Rock & Republic's business took a turn for the worse this fall, Ball -- an eccentric California designer -- was stubborn in the negotiations, according to one source.

"In any negotiation, [Ball] is always concerned, first and foremost, about himself," a source close to the situation said. "But he didn't do himself a favor this time."

Sources said Ball insisted on being given an outsize stake in the reorganized Rock & Republic, as well as a lavish salary as the company's creative chief.

But Bluestar, whose other investments include Liz Lange maternity wear, had difficulty raising the cash necessary to complete the deal, with a price tag some insiders considered "a little rich," according to one person familiar with the talks.

Officials at Bluestar and Rock & Republic could not be reached for comment. But the fizzled deal means that Rock & Republic was likely to be auctioned off in court.

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