Federated May Sweeten Macy Bid

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Federated Department Stores Inc., stepping up its pursuit of R.H. Macy & Co., said Sunday that it may sweeten its bid to get the retailer out of Bankruptcy Court and is continuing to meet with creditors.

Federated said it believes its $3.83-billion proposal "and the possible enhancements discussed with creditors last week provide more value to all creditor constituents than does Macy's stand-alone proposal."

Federated's statement was the company's first public reaction to a decision Friday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland directing Macy alone to file a reorganization plan with the court as soon as possible. Lifland's order affirmed Macy's exclusive right under law to file a plan by Aug. 1, and put the presentation of Federated's plan on hold at least temporarily.

The request capped a week in which Federated and Macy tried to rally support for their rival proposals.

Carol Sanger, a Federated spokeswoman, wouldn't elaborate Sunday on what the enhancements might be. She said the Cincinnati-based retailer has had "numerous conversations in the past week" with Macy's secured creditors. "It is our understanding that we have made considerable progress with that group," she said.

Bloomberg Business News, citing unnamed sources close to the negotiations, reported that Federated increased its offer to secured creditors, winning their support. Representatives of the secured creditors could not be reached for comment. Lifland and court-appointed mediator Cyrus Vance emphasized throughout the process that they sought a plan that all creditors could support, but Sanger said there was no consensus.

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