Friday, June 24, 2005

WestPoint bidders still behind doors

NEW YORK - Corporate financier Carl Icahn arrived to join the WestPoint Stevens auction shortly after 1 p.m. today, expressing optimism he’d prevail in his bid for the bankrupt mill.

Other participants in the auction being held in WestPoint's attorney's offices at Fifth Ave. and 58th St. started arriving before 9 a.m. But after Icahn's arrival it appeared other groups of professionals involved in the bidding may also have entered.

The auction, pitting Icahn against a creditors group led by Wilbur Ross, will likely be decided no earlier than tomorrow during a bankruptcy court hearing.

But on entering the building today, Icahn seemed to expect an outcome sooner.

"I think we'll win it. I hope we'll win it, but we'll see," Icahn said as he strode up the steps outside. Icahn also seemed to quell speculation that he and Ross have been in private talks aimed at finding a compromise solution to the impasse that led to today's contest.

"I know Wilbur, but we haven't spoken in the last couple of months -- about this anyway."

Icahn is WestPoint's single largest creditor but his interests are spread over two different classes of debt. That factor has caused the Steering Committee of first lien creditors to claim Icahn's interests are subordinate to their own.