Ascena Retail Group is selling its tween girls apparel brand.
The bankrupt retailer, whose banners include Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, has reached a deal to sell the intellectual property, e-commerce business and other assets of its Justice brand to Premier Brands Justice (an acquisition vehicle of IHL Group). As required by bankruptcy law, Ascena Retail will hold an auction for Justice at which Premier Brands will serve as the “stalking horse bidder.” Premier Brands has agreed to a base cost of $35 million for Justice assets. The asset purchase agreement is subject to higher or otherwise better offers, among other conditions.
Ascena Retail, which filed for bankruptcy in July, has shuttered roughly 600 of Justice’s 820 stores. The company said it expects a decision about the remaining Justice locations to be made as part of the auction process.
In September, Ascena Retail sold the intellectual property assets and e-commerce business of its plus-size Catherines brand to FullBeauty Brands Operations LLC for $40.8 million. The retailer said the sale of Justice brings it closer to the completion of its restructuring process.
“All of our restructuring activities are focused on maximizing value for all of our stakeholders and positioning the ascena brands for long-term success,” said Gary Muto, CEO, Ascena Retail Group. “With a reduced store footprint and a more focused collection of go-forward brands, we believe that ascena will emerge from Chapter 11 better able to strategically invest in our future and generate sustainable, profitable growth.”