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updated: 10/23/2012 12:43 PM

Des Plaines-based Hartmarx owner files for Chapter 11

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Associated Press

NEW YORK -- HMX Acquisition Corp., the owner of tailored clothing brands including Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The labels Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx got their start in 1887 in Chicago and have been worn by presidents including Barack Obama, who wore its suits for his inaugural and election nights.

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Their original parent company, Hartmarx, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and was acquired by British company Emerisque Brands and the North American branch of Indian clothing company SKNL.

HMX has lined up $65 million in debtor-in-possession financing to let it pay vendors and continue operations.

Authentic Brands Group LLC, a licensing company affiliated with private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, has agreed to submit an initial bid for the company, known as a "stalking-horse bid," in a court-supervised auction of the business.

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the company claimed assets of zero to $50,000 and liabilities between $50 million to $100 million.

The company has manufacturing based in Rochester, N.Y.; Des Plaines, Ill.; and Hamilton, Ontario.

It filed a warning notice with the U.S. Department of Labor regarding potentially closing the Rochester plant in December, with 431 jobs at the plant and 71 jobs at its corporate headquarters in New York expected to be affected.

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