A group of private investors is looking to sell its shares in American Apparel, just months after giving the troubled chain a US$15m lifeline.

The investors, led by Canadian financier Michael Serruya and Delavaco Capital, are seeking to sell the 43.2m shares in a secondary offering, which means that American Apparel will not get any proceeds from the sale, according to an SEC filing on Monday (29 August).

The group bought 15.8m shares for $0.9 a share in April, and had the option to buy a further 27.4m shares for the same price over a six-month period.

According to reports, billionaire Ron Burkle is in discussions with the company to refinance a portion of its $160m debt load. The New York Post said he is backing an offer from Colbeck Capital, an affiliate of his Yucaipa investment vehicle, which is looking to take over a $75m credit line, currently provided by Bank of America.

There have also been reports that Leonard Green and Partners recently offered American Apparel a $100m loan for its name and intellectual property. The money would be used to pay off private-equity firm Lion Capital, which the retailer owes $83.8m and whose punishing 18% interest rate has sapped its liquidity.

Yucaipa Companies and Leonard Green & Partners have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Shares in American Apparel were up 4.3% to $0.97 a share at the market's close yesterday (30 August).