Story updated in include Filene's bankrutpcy.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Bargain brick and mortar clothes stores Syms ( SYMS) and its affiliate discount retail brand Filene's Basement filed for bankruptcy today. For Filene's it was the third bankruptcy in its 100 year history. Syms took control of Filene's basement and 21 discount clothes stores under its name in 2009 for $63 million. Syms also operates 21 stores under its name, which is an icon in discount retail for professional clothes shoppers. Shortly thereafter, Syms founder Sy Syms died at the age of 83. Syms stock rose over 20% to $9.21 in afternoon trading on reports of its Chapter 11 petition, the stock is up nearly 30% year to date. Syms was founded by Sy Syms in 1959, who coined its slogan, "An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer." Not content to just serve educated clothes shoppers, Syms also established the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University in 1987 with a $12.5 million endowment. Initially named Seymour Merinsky, he opened his first store on Cortlandt Street in New York City under the name Sy Merns in 1959 that competed against his brother and father -- later changed both his and his store's name to Syms after a legal battle. Edward Filene started the the Filene's department store's in 1908 with its Downtown Crossing, Boston flagship and created its 'Basement' brand, originally called 'Automatic Bargain Basement', to liquidate unsold department store inventory. Last year, Syms planned to open a flagship fbSY combining its namesake and Filene's brand in a flagship store on Fifth Avenue between 44th and 45th Street. Syms stock rose over 10% to $8.75 on reports of the Chapter 11 petition, the stock is up nearly 20% year to date. In Secacus, New Jersey -based Syms' bankruptcy filing, the company listed assets of $236 million and liabilities of $94 million in its Chapter 11 petition.
According to court papers, Syms plans to liquidate its clothes inventory in a 'going-out of-business' sale prior to Black Friday on November 25th. According to the filing, Syms will liquidate its stores through January 2012 and is asking for the courts to allow Cushman & Wakefield to sell its near $100 million in real estate assets. Gilt City, the urban retail arm of Gilt Groupe today said it is acquiring assets of the daily deal site BuyWithMe in a push to bolster its sales of women's, men's and children's apparel and accessories, home décor, travel experiences and gourmet food and wine. According to a press release announcing the deal, BuyWithMe sells local fashion, home and travel retail to over a million customers in services in thirteen markets around the country. For Gilt Groupe founded in 2007 by Ryan, who previously was a pioneer at DoubleClick the BuyWithMe purchase by Gilt City bolsters its planned expansion from operations in ten markets over the next 12 months. Details about the price of the buyout weren't announced. "This purchase demonstrates Gilt Groupe's commitment to making Gilt City a top player in the local- services industry," said Kevin Ryan, CEO and Founder of Gilt Groupe in a press release announcing the deal. He added, "BuyWithMe complements our philosophy of providing premium offers to customers at great prices. We are excited to capitalize on this incredible opportunity to grow our lifestyle positioning." In February, Gilt's founder Ryan said to the New York Times that the company was considering a 2012 IPO. The comments came after Nordstrom's ( JWN) bought online fashion deals site HauteLook for $180 milllion in in stock, potentially increasing Gilt's competition. In May, Gilt raised $138 million in a private fundraising from investors like Goldman Sachs ( GS), Softbank and New Enterprise Associates, which valued the company at over $1 billion. After completing its $3.5 billion sale of Eagle Ford drilling and production assets to Marathon Oil ( MRO) Tuesday, KKR ( KKR) is reported by Bloomberg to be considering a $5 billion takeover of privately held shale driller Samson Investment. If rumors prove to be true, it would be KKR's biggest private equity deal since the financial crisis.
For KKR, which became a Wall Street buyout legend in the 1980s for its $25 billion takeover of RJR Nabisco, it would be a further push to shale drilling, and in particular into the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. Its previous Hilcorp investment focused on oil & gas shale in 141 acres of the Eagle Ford in East Texas. A Samson takeover from the ownership of Charles Schusterman, who founded the company in 1971 would signal that the shale oil and gas M&A boom still has legs. This year, Australian energy and commodities giant BHP ( BHP) bought Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion and more recently Norway's Statoil
took over of Brigham Exploration ( BEXP) for $4.4 billion. Late Tuesday after Marathon Oil reported earnings, Bloomberg reported that as part of the company's announced up to $3 billlion plan for oil asset sales, the company may be in talks to sell $800 million of its Angolan offshore operations to China Petrochemical Corp and other Asian buyers according to two people with knowledge of the process. Reports Wednesday also indicated that Marathon may look to sell 30% of a joint venture in its Gulf of Mexico deepwater assets for $1 billion to Asian buyers. Currently Marathon has a 10% interest in a key deepwater drilling asset offshore of Angola called Block 32, which Total ( TOT) has a 30% interest and the Angolan state owned oil company Sonangol has a 20% interest. The size of the sale signals just how valuable oil players consider drilling prospects to be offshore of Angola. Many see a geologic similarity with offshore basins off Angola to those in Brazil that in 2007 and 2008 that yielded the biggest oil finds in the Western Hemisphere in a generation. In 2009, Chinese oil companies Sinopec ( SHI) and CNOOC ( CEO) bought a 20% stake in Block 32 from Marathon for $1.3 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Chinese firms may also look to take stakes in Brazil. Bloomberg reported that China Petrochemical Corp is preparing to buy a stake in Portuguese oil producer Galp Energia, according to people familiar with the matter. Previously, Galp said it was looking to raise $2.7 billion by selling a piece of its Brazilian unit, which owns a stake in the Jupiter oil field that may hold more than 30 billion barrels of oil. Galp is part owned by Italian oil giant Eni ( E) and Amorim Energia. The company also owns a 10% stake in Brazil's largest ever find, the Tupi well, which was drilled in 2007 and was the largest oil find in the western hemisphere since the Cantarell field was discovered in Mexico in 1976. -- Written by Antoine Gara in New York