Daily News: April 16, 2015

Crystal Provides Versa Facility to Support Operations

Versa Capital Management announced one of its affiliates completed the previously announced acquisition of the business of The Wet Seal, a retailer of young women’s fast fashion. The transaction was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on April 1, 2015.

The new company will maintain its headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA, and continue operating its 173 stores and growing its online platform. The company’s operations will be supported by a new $15 million senior credit facility provided by Crystal Financial LLC.

Wet Seal’s senior management is unchanged, with Ed Thomas serving as CEO. His leadership team includes Tom Hillebrandt, CFO; Christine Lee, EVP and chief merchandising officer; Jon Kubo, EVP and chief digital officer; Kim Bajrech, SVP and general merchandise manager; and Rachel Page, VP of stores and operations.

“We’re glad to be in business with a strong partner in Versa Capital,” Thomas stated. “Our goal now is to further implement the strategies we developed when I returned to the business last September. Those plans call for optimizing the legacy of the Wet Seal brand and strengthening e-commerce as an important source of new customers and sales. We are focused on providing our growing customer base with fashionable merchandise that appeals to young women everywhere.”

According to Gregory L. Segall, CEO of Versa Capital and chairman of Wet Seal, “We are excited to be working with Ed and his team after a year of intensive study of this part of the retail sector. The Wet Seal brand is more than 50 years old and, as such, carries a lifespan that few retailers can match. We believe the new strategy that Ed and his team have created will produce a bright future for this iconic retailer.”

The new company is privately held with a new board that includes CEO Ed Thomas. The legacy publicly-traded entity, The Wet Seal (DIP) is now named SEAL 123, and will wind up its case pending in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court after completing the resolution of creditor claims and distributions.