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BROOKLYN PARK, MN-Wilsons The Leather Experts says an unidentified institutional investor has offered to buy 16.3 million shares for $35 million. The investor would pay $2.15 a share and receive warrants to buy another 3 million shares at $3 each, exercisable for five years, according to Wilsons officials, who will consider the non-binding offer.

The proposal would take the place of the company’s agreement in April with Charlottesville, VA-based Peninsula Investment Partners LP and two affiliates of Pittsburgh-based Quaker Capital Management Corp. to buy 17.9 million shares for $35 million with warrants to purchase 4 million shares for $3 a share, Wilsons says.

Brooklyn Park-based Wilsons says it couldn’t break the agreement with Peninsula and Quaker before a shareholders vote on the first proposal. The only exceptions would be that the meeting doesn’t occur by July 15 or the transaction doesn’t close by July 22. Wilsons says it will submit the new, non-binding proposal to its directors for consideration.

Wilsons Leather officials say they will the money to repay its 11.25% senior notes due Aug. 15 and for general working capital purposes.

Wilsons Leather expects, subject to approval of the bank syndicate, that the repayment of the senior notes will allow the company to borrow under its revolving credit facility.

As a result, any deal should be concluded by mid-July so the company can repay its outstanding senior notes due Aug. 15.

The Brooklyn Park-based specialty retailer of leather outerwear, accessories and apparel had, as earlier this month, 458 stores located in 45 states and the District of Columbia, including 334 mall stores, 107 outlet stores and 17 airport stores.

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