WXXI Local Stories
Thu December 20, 2012
Jobs safe as Hickey Freeman sale finalized
The sale of the Hickey Freeman parent company was approved by the U.S Bankruptcy Court Wednesday.
Authentic Brands Groups (ABG) and W-Diamond Corporation have been given the go ahead to purchase the intellectual and physical property of the company.
The sale worked out as a joint purchase, with the intellectual property of iconic clothing brands Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx going to Authentic Brands Group, and the operating company being purchased by W-Diamond corporation.
W-Diamond corporation is the new business of Doug Williams, the former CEO of parent company, HMX Acquisitions Group which went bankrupt.
Williams says the decision provides workers in upstate New York and the Mid-West with job security.
“Fundamentally what it means is that we saved 1,100 American jobs, preserving the manufacturing in Rochester as well as Chicago.”
Williams says the sale will also ensure that operations remain in the U.S, and he says he intends for the factories to operate in their current locations for at least another century.
“I flew up to Rochester and Met with all of our team, and all the factory workers and told them what’s going on and to go home for Christmas and be with their families and know that they’ve got jobs when they come back.”
Williams says the sale reached well over $100 million, and will be closed Friday.
Intellectual property purchaser Authentic Brands Group was the sole outside bidder at the auction Monday.
The union representing most Hickey Freeman workers in Rochester originally opposed the group as a buyer, but Williams says they now fully support the deal.
“The union ultimately withdrew all of its objections and has thrown their full support behind the company.”
Manager of the Workers United Union, Gary Bonadonna, says the backflip in their stance comes after discussion with Williams and ABG in which they were given assurances that jobs would be safe in the long term.
“It sounds like a deal has been worked out that is favourable," Bonadonna said Tuesday, "...and that it is sustainable and that the company should, assuming the judge approves everything, we should be fine going forward.”
Williams says the deal will allow the brands to move forward, and remain an integral part of the local communities in Rochester and Chicago.