Fashionmall Drops as New Suitor Emerges

Fashionmall.com (Nasdaq: FASH) was down 1 9/32 at 2 27/32 in earlytrading Tuesday after the company — which last week received two buyoutoffers in as many days — said it was not for sale, though its chiefexecutive said management would look at one of the offers.

On Friday, Fashionmall rose 1 19/32 to 4 1/8 after GenesisIntermedia.com (Nasdaq: GENI), a marketing and advertising company, said it hadacquired a 7 percent stake in the company and had offered to buy theremainder for US$7 per share in cash and stock.

Genesis, which owns the Centerlinq shopping-loyalty network, said theFashionmall acquisition “would create one of the highest-traffic, mostinnovative interactive shopping and advertising venues in the U.S.”

“The merging of Centerlinq and Fashionmall will create one of the largestnetworks to serve both the brick-and-mortar world and the Internet,” saidGenesis chief executive officer Ramy El-Batrawi. “We will also enjoynumerous opportunities to cross-promote Fashionmall partners to Centerlinqmembers and shoppers in a growing number of malls, and Centerlinqadvertisers to Fashionmall users on their home PCs.”

The Centerlinq network reaches more than 35,000 consumers through Web accessand Internet kiosks in shopping malls. Genesis said it would pay $2 in cash and 0.29 common shares for each share of New York-based Fashionmall.

A day earlier, Fashionmall received an unsolicited bid from Narax, Inc., a Beverly Hills, California-based buyout firm.Narax said it would offer $3.50 per share in cash.

Fashionmall chief executive officer Benjamin Narasin appeared more receptiveto Genesis’ bid. Though the company is not “seeking to sell itself,” Narasinsaid Friday, officials hoped to obtain additional information from Genesisand directors would “evaluate the proposal in the near future.”

By contrast, in a statement Thursday, Narasin said he was skeptical aboutNarax’s offer, in light of the fact that the buyout firm did not negotiatewith Fashionmall prior to sending a fax outlining its offer. Narasin alsosaid a preliminary investigation “failed to turn upany information about Narax.” Moreover, he said, the price of the bid isbelow the company’s book value.

Narasin compared Narax’s offer to one the company received in October fromSitestar Corp. that never materialized, and noted that the Narax proposaldoes “not appear to contemplate any payment to the holders of Fashionmall’spreferred stock.”

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