Nomura voices interest in joining fight for Macy

May 07, 1994|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- In a new twist in the battle for R. H. Macy & Co., the Nomura America Corp., the U.S. investment banking affiliate of Nomura Securities, has begun tentative discussions about a bid to get Macy out of bankruptcy protection.

Although Nomura has not made a concrete offer, it has discussed a ballpark figure of as much as $3.9 billion with people involved in the case. Nomura, which expressed an interest in joining the fight for Macy about two weeks ago, is still conducting its financial analysis of the company, and that number is subject to change, people familiar with the case said yesterday.

"There's not a lot of credibility at this point because they're still studying it," said one person who had heard Nomura's overtures.

Another person familiar with the Nomura discussions said the investment bank was considering using collateralized mortgage obligations to help it finance a play for Macy. Under that strategy, the bank would pool the retailer's mortgages and then sell pieces to investors, using the proceeds to finance the Macy's acquisition.

P. J. Johnson, a spokesman for Nomura, declined to comment yesterday.

Cyrus R. Vance, the court-appointed mediator in the bankruptcy, has asked participants to sign confidentiality agreements that limit their ability to speak publicly about the case.

Creditors are considering three proposals for getting Macy out of bankruptcy. Nomura has not presented a formal proposal to Mr. Vance or to creditors, and it is unclear whether Mr. Vance will allow it to participate in the mediation process. Mr. Vance's permission is required for the submission of reorganization proposals.

A spokesman for Macy declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Federated Department Stores Inc., a large Macy creditor that has proposed merging the two companies.

Macy and Federated, as well as a committee representing Macy's bondholders, are to submit revised reorganization proposals to Mr. Vance Monday.

Although Mr. Vance has asked the three proponents to submit their final offers, many involved in the case said they believed the proponents would leave room to improve their proposals.

Macy's senior creditors, whose claims are backed by collateral and other assets and who must be paid in full before junior creditors get anything, have been coy, refusing to commit themselves to any proposal without seeing whether they can get a better deal from proponents of other plans.

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