In the hilarious Peter Sellers movie The Mouse That Roared, a tiny country wages war on the U.S. in hopes of losing the battle, but with the ultimate goal of winning foreign aid to repair its wrecked economy.
Ilia Lekach, and his tiny, three-store Adrenalina empire in Miami, has effectively declared war on teen retailer Pacific Sunwear
Like a gnat buzzing about its head, PacSun swatted away Lekach and his annoying little offer in a tartly composed letter highlighting Adrenalina's sorry financial state of affairs.In her letter to Lekach, CEO Sally Frame Kasaks noted that Adrenalina had less than $3.5 million in sales last year and only $4 million through the first nine months of 2008, while recording losses of $5.8 million and $6.2 million, respectively. In its most recent quarterly report, Adrenalina said it didn't think it would be able to generate any significant cash flow in the coming year, and its auditor has indicated it has substantial doubts about the company's continued viability.
Yet for all that, Lekach has supposedly rallied support from some of PacSun's biggest shareholders, and he's ready to mount a proxy fight to replace the retailer's board of directors.
You could almost hear Kasaks laughing as she penned her response, well aware that shareholders felt anything but enthusiasm for Lekach's efforts. It was unnecessary to even question how he would have been able to come up with the financing for his proposed $300 million buyout.
Even so, the teen retailer is in the midst of a turnaround plan that has gotten mired in the economic slump common to most retailers these days. It's expecting high single-digit declines in same-store sales, lumping it in with the likes of American Eagle
PacSun was able to narrow its loss in its most recent quarter, and it maintains a strong affinity with the surf-and-skate crowd. But the company has a lot of work to do to get itself back on track, so it certainly doesn't need to be distracted by quixotic endeavors like Lekach's.
Unlike the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, however, I don't foresee Adrenalina successfully boosting its own financial situation by winning the war to take over PacSun. Inevitably, the gnat will be squashed, and return to minding its own small fiefdom.