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Tiffany Montgomery
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A talk with Adrenalina CEO Ilia Lekach

The Adrenalina store in Tampa.
The Adrenalina store in Tampa. Shop-eat-surf file photo.
By Tiffany Montgomery
July 02, 2009 8:23 AM

Lekach says he is working on a friendly merger with an action sports retailer, and it's not Active.

I had a short but interesting telephone conversation yesterday with Ilia Lekach, the CEO of Adrenalina.

Adrenalina, based in Miami, is an action sports retailer with four stores - three in Florida and one in Texas. Its stores feature a wave pool where customers can surf and ride waves. Lekach has been in the news lately after making unsuccessful bids for retailers Pacific Sunwear and West 49.

Lekach had expressed interest at one point in bidding for the bankrupt Active Ride Shop chain, and I wanted to find out if he is in investor in the Florida LLC that is buying Active out of bankruptcy court. A bankruptcy judge approved that sale this week.

Lekach told me he is not involved in the Active acquisition, though the people behind Active Sports Lifestyle are his friends. I asked if he would ever partner with them in the future and Lekach said it's "possible."

He said the most impressive thing about Active is its web business though he also likes the stores as well. "The concept is great, the merchandising is great, the private label is excellent. The company is wonderful. They just picked a bad time to grow."

Interestingly, Lekach said he is working on a new acquisition of an action sports retailer based in Southern California. He would not name the retailer or give hints like the number of stores it has, citing a confidentiality agreement.

But he said it's friendly merger, and the deal is past the courting stage.

Adrenalina's wave pool draws big crowds to its stores and to malls, but the company has struggled financially. For the nine months ended Sept. 30 2008, the company reported a net loss of $6.1 million.

The company announced in April that it was unable to file its annual report for the year ended Dec. 31 on time.

"... In light of its ongoing evaluations of its assets, business and cash requirements, (Adrenalina) is unable to file its Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2008 within the prescribed period of time," the notice says. "The Company is researching strategic alternatives to enhance operating performance and stockholder value, including restructuring its balance sheet, reducing costs and negotiating with its creditors to address the Company's liquidity issues and implementing a revised strategic plan. There can be no assurance, however, that these initiatives will be successful."

 


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