Michael Ball's firm Rock & Republic being restructured
Rock & Republic, the firm behind the Rock Racing Team, has filed for bankruptcy in US court. Michael Ball is the Chief Executive Officer of the company, as well as of the cycling team.
The company has been known for it expensive jeans, at US$200 or more, as well as other apparel. The products were sold at upper-class stores as Bloomingdale's, Nieman-Marcus and Nordstrom.
The company's day-to-day operations are expected to continue as usual. There was no word as to how the bankruptcy filing might affect the team.
The team did not receive a UCI license this year at any professional level. It is now operating as an amateur team. Rock Racing has been plagued by financial problems for years, with many reports of unpaid salaries.
"The Chapter 11 filing is a strategic action that will alleviate balance sheet burdens and enable us to adopt the financial and operational initiatives needed to support the brand's growth needs," said Geoffrey D. Lurie, Rock & Republic's chief restructuring officer according to the Los Angeles Times. "We are confident that this is the right move for Rock & Republic."
The company is looking into various "financial relationships", he said, and would focus on its core lines of apparel and footwear. It was not clear what this meant for the cycling team.
The bankruptcy petition was filed in US Bankruptcy Court in New York on Thursday.
Rock Racing had presented itself with a "bad boy" image over the years. Its black kit frequently featured such symbols as skulls. Ball signed many riders who had come back from doping suspensions or had been involved in doping scandals, such as Operacion Puerto.
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