SEC revokes Spiegel's stock registration

Action is part of offer by ailing firm to settle with regulatory agency

July 27, 2004|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

CHICAGO - Spiegel Inc., the financially troubled retailer that pioneered mail-order marketing, said yesterday that it will no longer file annual or quarterly financial reports because the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the registration of its shares as part of a settlement.

Owners of Spiegel's Class A shares won't be able to trade them publicly, company spokeswoman Debbie Koopman said in an interview.

The revocation of the share registration complies with a proposed SEC settlement Spiegel submitted the regulatory agency. The SEC is investigating allegations that the company failed to disclose information about its deteriorating financial condition to investors.

Spiegel filed for Chapter 11 protection in March 2003 amid sales declines and credit-card defaults.

Spiegel said it is no longer required to file annual, quarterly or other reports because it no longer has public shares. Spiegel said information would available on its Web site.

"The investigation is ongoing," said Koopman, the Spiegel spokeswoman.

The SEC can't comment on pending investigations, said Matt Well, a spokesman for the federal regulatory agency.

Spiegel has sold two of its three major assets to pay creditors, who are owed about $1.5 billion. The company couldn't compete with other catalog companies such as Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Abercrombie and Fitch Co. because its prices were too high and its fashions didn't appeal to shoppers, said Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard's Retail Consulting Group.

"They just didn't measure up," Barnard said in an interview. "Same-store sales dropped lower and lower."

In June, Pangea Holdings Ltd. bought Spiegel's 99-year-old flagship catalog business for $53.4 million. Pangea also bought the Newport News women's apparel unit for $28.6 million in May.

Spiegel, which was delisted from Nasdaq in June 2002, is in talks to sell its Eddie Bauer clothing chain, Koopman said. The company hasn't had a profit since the second quarter of 2001.

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