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Not leather experts, but maybe Star Tribune experts?

More interlocking directorships involving proposed Star Tribune board members …

The two local nominees, Michael Sweeney and William F. Farley, share a common board stint at Wilson’s Leather Experts, Inc. It didn’t end well.

Wilson’s was liquidated in 2008 under its new name, PreVue, Inc. (The clothier earlier sold its name, website and 116 outlet stores to a New York-based company, the Strib’s Jackie Crosby reported.) According to a June 2008 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Farley succeeded Sweeney as board chair in the company’s final months.

Sweeney joined Wilson’s board in August 2007 after the private-equity firm he still leads, Minneapolis-based Goldner Hawn, pumped $35 million into then-struggling, not-quite-doomed retailer. Farley was on Wilson’s board when Goldner Hawn entered the picture.

As Wilson’s chair, Sweeney tried rebranding stores and hinted at a move to online, telling Crosby at the time, “There’s a great opportunity here to be a nationwide retailer of women’s accessories, where the product is treated with great respect and is recognized for its emotional value.”

It didn’t work out that way. Here’s hoping Sweeney has better instincts about the newspaper biz as the Strib’s board chair.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 08/31/2009 - 02:12 pm.

    GHJM is an exceptional firm with numerous old PJC employees, nice work Strib. I would be interested to see what kind of action GHJM has or is going to have with the Strib…new debt issuance?

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 08/31/2009 - 02:57 pm.

    Good question, Joe. Credit Suisse (an original Strib financier) and CIT also have pieces of the action as owners, so GHJM might be further down in that pecking order, depending on which financiers do what.

  3. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 08/31/2009 - 03:16 pm.

    What happened post bankruptcy? Debt to equity conversion. GHJM would not enter without being a senior creditor or maybe an equity agreement with a first paid out preferred return upon liquidation. If we start seeing new Strib LLC entities the later is likely correct. This is an easy PE target cash strapped and under performing.

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