Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. said a special committee of independent directors has retained Bank of America Corp.'s (BAC) Merrill Lynch as an adviser to help the apparel maker evaluate a buyout offer from the company's founder.

On Feb. 23, Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. received a non-binding
proposal from Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief creative officer of the
Company and the holder of approximately 47 percent of the Company's
outstanding common stock (representing approximately 89 percent of the
voting power), to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company's
Class A common stock that he does not currently directly or indirectly
own for $15.00 per share in cash. 

In response, the special committee of
independent directors established by the company's board of directors
delivered a letter to Cole requesting that he reconsider his position
that he is unwilling to consider any alternative proposals. On March 2,
Cole responded by letter that he did not intend to change his

BofA Merrill Lynch will help evaluate Cole's proposal and, if the
special committee deems it appropriate, assist it in considering any
alternative transactions

The special committee cautions the company's shareholders and others considering trading in its securities that no decision has been made with respect to the special committee's response to the proposal.  There can be no assurance that any definitive offer will be received, that any agreement will be executed or that the transaction contemplated in the proposal or any other transaction will be approved or consummated.  The company does not anticipate making any further public statements about this matter or the activities of the special committee unless and until either it enters into a definitive agreement for a transaction or the special committee determines that no such transaction will be effected.