Simon Property-backed venture makes offer to buy Brooks Brothers

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A retail venture owned by licensing company Authentic Brands Group and Indianapolis-based shopping mall owner Simon Property Group has entered into an agreement to buy the iconic Brooks Brothers for $305 million.

The offer from Sparc Group LLC announced late Thursday has been designated as a “stalking horse” and is subject to court approval and any higher or better offers as part of the company’s ongoing auction process. A court hearing to approve the bid has been set for Aug. 3. and competing offers are due by Aug. 5. The sale process is expected to take place Aug. 11.

The 200-year-old New York-based clothier, which has dressed nearly every U.S. president, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. At the time, it had over 200 stores.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sparc intends to purchase substantially all the company’s global business operations as a going concern. Sparc has also committed to acquiring at least 125 Brooks Brothers retail locations.

Simon in recent years has veered into retailer ownership in a substantial way, emboldened by its successful partnership with two other firms to buy the teen-oriented mall chain Aeropostale out of bankruptcy court in 2016.

In February, it teamed with two other firms to buy the once-thriving fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 out of bankruptcy court for $81 million.

Simon filed a lawsuit against Brooks Brothers in June that sought more than $8.7 million in unpaid rent. The suit said the retailer failed to pay rent for April, May and June while closed during the pandemic.

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