USA: Burlington Accepts $608m Bid From WL Ross

   Textile giant Burlington Industries Inc on Friday announced it had accepted a $608 million offer from investment firm WL Ross & Co as the opening bid in an auction due to be held today.

The North Carolina-based company, which makes soft goods for apparel and interior furnishings, said in a statement rival bidders at an auction in New York today will at least have to top that offer if they want to take control.

Last week, the firm said it had received "several proposals in connection with the sales process," but did not give any further details or name any of the suitors.

WL Ross' bid hinges on the sale of Burlington's Lee's Carpet unit to Mohawk Industries Inc, with the potential deal expected to close in October.

Burlington, which filed for Chapter 11 almost two years ago, estimates that distributions to unsecured creditors will be 40 per cent of allowed unsecured claims and that secured creditors will be repaid in full.

Chairman and CEO, George Henderson III, said: "We are pleased that the bidding process is coming to a conclusion and we believe it will enable us to maximise the value of the company and produce the best results for our customers, employees, suppliers and creditors."

Wilbur Ross, Chairman of WL Ross & Co LLC, added: "Lees will benefit from Mohawk's financial strength and business synergies. Burlington's other operations also will be deleveraged and as privately owned businesses will function even more efficiently and responsively to meet the needs of their customers."