Perry Ellis International Inc. (PERY) has been interviewing investment banks, including Peter J. Solomon & Co. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) , to advise the retailer on its next moves, said sources familiar with the situation.
The interview process began a few months ago, a source said, with the initial idea of an investment bank providing strategic advice to the apparel retail group, which is based in Doral, Fla.
Another source had previously told The Deal that Perry Ellis was prepping itself for a sale, primarily by licensing out its brand names to help clean up its balance sheet.
But the focus of hiring an investment bank switched from a sale to advising Perry Ellis on how to handle activist investors Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, which teamed up with its backer, public pension fund California State Teachers' Retirement System, or CalSTRS, to take a 6% stake in the company in mid-July.
In the meantime, likely buyers for Miami-based Perry Ellis include Sequential Brands Group Inc. (SQBG) , Leonard Green & Partners LP-backed Authentic Brands Group LLC and Iconix Brand Group Inc. (ICON) , sources have said.
An industry source said that a potential buyer had even floated an offering price north of $30 per share.
Perry Ellis on Thursday closed at $22.95 per share, giving it a market capitalization of about $340 million. Its 60-day-moving average was $23.03 per share.