Fitness financials: Bally noteholders back Harbinger restructuring plan, terminates interim executives, plus Payless/Stride Rite, Everlast, GSI Commerce

Fitness financials: Bally noteholders back Harbinger restructuring plan, terminates interim executives. Payless ShoeSource closes acquisition of Stride Rite. Everlast files proxy, schedules special shareholder meeting. GSI to buy Accretive Commerce for $97.5 million.
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Bally noteholders back Harbinger restructuring plan, terminates interim executives
Bally Total Fitness (Pink Sheets: BFTH) said a majority of its senior and subordinated noteholders agreed to support a restructuring plan from Harbinger Capital Partners Master Fund I Ltd. and Harbinger Capital Partners Special Situations Fund L.P.

Bally said Harbinger will invest $233.6 million in the reorganized company in exchange for 100 percent of its common equity.

Subordinated noteholders would receive an immediate cash payment of $123.5 million, with the remaining balance to be satisfied through the issuance of about $200 million in new subordinated notes of a reorganized Bally, it added.

In other company news: Bally said in a regulatory filing that it terminated the interim executive services agreements with Tatum LLC. Accordingly, services of interim Chief Financial Officer Ronald Eidell and interim Corporate Controller Michael Goldberg have been terminated effective Aug. 15.

Bally said the terminations were due its inability to negotiate the retention of Tatum, Eidell and Goldberg on terms satisfactory to the U.S. trustee appointed by a bankruptcy court.

Payless ShoeSource closes acquisition of Stride Rite
Payless ShoeSource (NYSE: PSS) said it has completed its acquisition of competing shoe store chain owner The Stride Rite for about $800 million. Among the brands in Stride Rite's portfolio are Saucony and Hind.

More than 80 percent of Stride Rite shareholders approved the transaction during a special meeting on Aug. 16, the company said. Besides paying $20.50 per share, Payless also is taking on some Stride Rite debt, pushing the deal value to around $900 million.

As previously announced, Payless also said it was changing its corporate name to Collective Brands, a holding company that will operate the Payless and Stride Rite chains under their own names, as well as Collective Licensing International, a brand development and licensing company.

Everlast files proxy, schedules special shareholder meeting
Everlast Worldwide (Nasdaq: EVST) said it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission definitive proxy materials in connection with the company's pending merger with Brands Holdings Limited.

Under the terms of the amended merger agreement with Brands Holdings, Brands Holdings will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Everlast Worldwide common stock for $33 per share in cash.

A special meeting of the company's shareholders, to consider and vote upon the proposed merger, has been scheduled for Sept. 19, 2007, at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City. Shareholders of record as of July 26, 2007, will be entitled to vote at the special meeting. The company's board of directors has unanimously approved the Brands Holdings transaction and is recommending that the shareholders vote for the merger.

GSI to buy Accretive Commerce for $97.5 million
GSI Commerce (Nasdaq: GSIC), an e-commerce website operator, has agreed to acquire Accretive Commerce, a provider of e-commerce services, for $97.5 million in cash. GSI said the acquisition will expand its partner base and add to its infrastructure.

GSI expects integration-related operating expenses of about $10 million to $12 million and capital expenditures of $10 million to $15 million related to the acquisition, taken in the third quarter of fiscal 2007 through the end of fiscal 2008, mainly for systems migration activities. The acquisition is expected to close within 60 days.

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