By Soma Biswas 

A venture backed by apparel-licensing firm Authentic Brands Group LLC and mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. has agreed to buy Brooks Brothers Inc. for $325 million.

The proposed purchase of America's oldest apparel company, which requires bankruptcy court approval, includes a commitment to keep 125 Brooks Brothers stores open. The retailer has roughly 200 stores in North America.

Sparc Group LLC, the Authentic Brands-Simon venture, had initially bid $305 million for Brooks Brothers. The bankrupt retailer had selected that offer as the lead, or stalking horse, bid for its assets at a planned bankruptcy auction.

But the deadline for rival offers passed last week, and no auction was held.

Brand-licensing company WHP Global Inc. had also expressed interest in purchasing Brooks Brothers but bowed out of the race after the retailer selected Sparc as the stalking horse, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Sparc buys consumer brands, often out of bankruptcy, and revives them by shedding unprofitable locations. It owns hundreds of Aéropostale, Forever 21 and Nautica stores.

Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy last month after more than two centuries in business, unable to withstand store closures because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company has struggled in recent years with a shift toward more casual dress styles at work.

Write to Soma Biswas at soma.biswas@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 11, 2020 23:04 ET (03:04 GMT)

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