Ascena Retail Group, parent company of Lane Bryant, Dressbarn and Maurices brands, has acquired ANN Inc., owner of the LOFT and Ann Taylor clothing store chains, for approximately $2.15 billion. With the acquisition, ANN Inc. holds an enterprise value of approximately $2 billion. The combined company will have 4,930 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Ascena is offering ANN shareholders $47 per share, including $37.34 in cash and 0.68 of a share of Ascena common stock, for each ANN share, according to the company in a press statement. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.
When the deal closes, ANN stockholders will own approximately 16% of Ascena. The stockholders will receive as much as 80% of the purchase price in cash, according to Ronald Hovsepian, Non-Executive Chairman of the ANN Inc. board of directors.
“As a member of the Ascena family, ANN will be poised to further enhance and grow our business as we continue to take steps to better strategically and operationally position our brands for the dynamics that are redefining the landscape of the women’s specialty retailing industry,” said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN Inc. “At the same time, we look forward to continuing to meet our clients’ wardrobing needs by delivering great product and a seamless brand experience across our multiple touch points.”
Guggenheim Securities and Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisors to Ascena throughout the transaction, while J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as the exclusive financial advisor to ANN.
ANN had begun exploring a potential sale in August 2014 when it hired J.P. Morgan to explore strategic business alternatives. ANN Inc. initially announced a strategic alignment in March 2014 designed to support the integration of the in-store and e-Commerce experiences, but investor companies such as Engine Capital LP and Red Alder LLC had pressed the company to seek a sale, indicating in a letter that it could receive as much as $50 to $55 per share in a buyout.