Clothing retailer West 49 could face another hostile takeover offer this fall

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - Skateboard apparel retailer West 49 Inc. (TSX:WXX) dodged a hostile takeover bid earlier this year, but the U.S. executive who chased the Canadian company says he'll be back for another run at the operation later this year.
Ilia Lekach, the 60-year-old chairman and chief executive of Florida-based Adrenalina Inc., said he plans to submit another bid to West 49's management before Christmas.
"Right now I'm in the middle of another acquisition," said Adrenalina chairman and chief executive Ilia Lekach, who put forth the offer two months ago.
"I'm going to wait until I finish it, and then I'm going to go back to West 49."
Lekach's comments appear to quash suggestions that he has bailed on his attempts to buy the Burlington, Ont.-based company.
Last week Sam Baio, West 49's CEO, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting that he hasn't heard back from Adrenalina since the initial offer, valued at $35 million, was rebuked in early May.
However, Lekach disputes that account, and said he has tried to negotiate with West 49 executives and schedule a meeting.
"After you call them and they don't call you back, and you write a letter and they send you a letter (saying) 'We don't want to talk to you.' What else should I do?" said Lekach.
"The last letter I had from the chairman was that he doesn't want to hear from me, talk to me or see me."
Executives at West 49 weren't immediately available for comment.
The West 49 bid has been controversial from the start, partly because Lekach's history runs a list of failed acquisitions, including privatization attempts for both Ecom Ventures (now Perfumania Holdings, Inc.) and Parlux Fragrances, a company at which he served as chief executive.
Last fall, Lekach and Adrenalina submitted a US$300-million offer for teen surfwear retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., which was nixed by the company. Adrenalina still holds five per cent of Pacific Sunwear.
West 49 executives have told shareholders they were primarily concerned about making a deal with a company like Adrenalina that is having trouble with its own finances.
Lekach reassured that his "affiliates" were able to provide sufficient funding to complete a deal.
West 49 was also never convinced that Adrenalina could be profitable in Canada, calling its approach an "unproven business model. "
Adrenalina operates a small number of flashy locations in the southern U.S., with stores that feature a surfing simulation ride which allows shoppers to step on a surfboard and ride a man-made wave in the middle of the store.
West 49 has said the concept is "highly expensive."

Organizations: West 49 Inc., Adrenalina, TSX Ecom Ventures Perfumania Holdings Parlux Fragrances Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.

Geographic location: U.S., TORONTO, Burlington Pacific Sunwear Canada

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