Ascena Retail selling Ann Taylor, Loft and other brands for $540 million

Marianne Wilson
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Ascena Retail Group has entered into a deal that will greatly boost Sycamore Partners’ retail portfolio.

The bankrupt retailer has entered into an agreement to sell its remaining brands — Ann Taylor, Loft, Lou & Grey and Lane Bryant — to  Premium Apparel LLC, an affiliate of Sycamore Partners, whose holdings include Belk, Talbots, The Limited, Hot Topic and Torrid. Sycamore will acquire the Ascena’s brands for $540 million on a cash-free and debt-free basis, subject to certain adjustments, and the assumption of certain liabilities.

Ascena, which filed for bankruptcy in July, said that Sycamore has committed to “retaining a substantial portion of the retail stores and associates affiliated with these brands.” As of August 29, Ascena operated 1,500 stores throughout the U.S. in addition to e-commerce sites.

“The commitment Sycamore has made to our people and business is a testament to the long-term growth potential of our brands,” said Gary Muto, CEO, Ascena Retail. “At ascena, we have made significant progress in our financial restructuring process. We have worked diligently to maximize the value of all of our brands, and today’s agreement with Sycamore is the latest example.” 

Prior to the pandemic and filing for bankruptcy, Ascena had been remaking itself to a smaller company, liquidating its Dressbarn stores and selling a majority stake in the Maurices brand. In September, it sold its plus-size Catherines brand for $40.8 million to FullBeauty Brands Operations, and in November, it entered into a deal to sell Justice for $90 million to Bluestar Alliance. 

The transaction with Sycamore is expected to be completed by mid-December

“Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey are well-known brands, each with passionate associates and loyal customers,” said Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners. “These brands have significant potential, and we are excited about the opportunity to partner with Ascena’s talented team to continue delivering new and relevant experiences for customers.”