Whitehall receives takeover offer from Newcastle Partners

Whitehall Jewellers Inc. has received a $15.4 million takeover offer from Newcastle Partners L.P. that would also pay off a recent loan it received, the company said in a statement on Thursday. The statement did not define any action taken by the board

The Chicago-based jewelry chain retailer previously said that it expected its stock to be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier this month Whiehall had reached an agreement with Prentice Capital Management LP and Holtzman Opportunity Fund L.P. for new financing. It also secured deals with key vendors that would allow it to receive fresh inventory for the holiday shopping season.

The pact with Prentice, however, allowed Whitehall to consider alternative offers. Under the new proposal, Newcastle offered to buy Whitehall for $15.4 million, or $1.10 per share in cash.

Whitehall has suffered from management turnover, falling sales, and fallout from a securities fraud investigation last year. In September, it said it was running out of cash and asked for extra time to pay its suppliers.

Whitehall operates 387 mall-based jewelry stores under the Whitehall, Lundstrom and Marks Bros. brand names.