A reader posted the comment to one of our recent posts about the sale of Barneys…"if it is worth so much, why is Jones Apparel Group selling it?" An article in today’s NY Times by Michael Barbaro, "The Feud Behind the Sale of Barneys New York" we learn why.
It would seem like a major coup that Jones more than doubled it’s initial investment 3 short years ago, but the decision of when and how to break up
the Jones empire created a bitter rift between the chief executive and
the board of the struggling $5 billion conglomerate.
The bitter feud, which played out
over the last two years, pitted Peter Boneparth, a hard-charging former
investment banker, against a board led by the founder and chairman of
Jones Apparel, Sidney Kimmel, a powerful philanthropist and Hollywood
In late 2005, with private equity firms on a buying
binge, the board of Jones (which owns Nine West and Anne Klein) pushed to sell the entire company. The board, however, faced an unexpected opponent in Mr. Boneparth. He was against the sale, arguing that Jones was
on the verge of a turnaround.
Even though the sale brought in more than anyone at Jones could have imagined, Boneparth was not there.
He left the company last month. His relationship with the board was so
strained from years of clashes — over the sale, acquisitions,
performance and personnel — both sides agreed not to renew his
Boneparth became chief executive in 2002, a year
after Jones Apparel bought his company, the McNaughton Apparel Group.
His style was off-putting to many. He shad a plan though. “Our ultimate vision is to build a diversified company that’s bulletproof,” he told the NY Times in a 2004 interview.
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