Authentic Brands Declares Victory In Barneys Auction; Rivals Don’t Concede

“Barneys is continuing to work towards a value-maximizing going-concern transaction," said a spokesperson.
Vincent RyanOctober 25, 2019

Authentic Brands Group said late Thursday it had won the bidding for bankrupt luxury retailer Barneys New York. But rival bidders Sam Ben-Avraham and David Jackson say they are still in competition for the company, and Barneys maintained nothing is official.

Ben-Avraham submitted a bid of $260 million this week and has been waging a social media campaign under the hashtag #SaveBarneys. ABG submitted a $271.4 million bid, but it has said it will close all seven remaining Barneys stores and license the retailer’s intellectual property to Saks Fifth Avenue.

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David Jackson has reportedly been working on a bid on behalf of large investors from the Middle East. Jackson was the chief executive of Istithmar World, which bought Barneys in 2007 for $942 million.

In an interview with Business of Fashion, Jackson said he was still hoping for an extension to make the October 31 deadline.

“Barneys is continuing to work towards a value-maximizing going-concern transaction, including in relation to a potential transaction led by Sam Ben-Avraham and his group of financial, operational, and strategic partners, up to and including the October 31 sale hearing,” a spokesperson for Barneys said.

Barneys New York filed for bankruptcy in August. It closed 15 of its 22 stores, including Barneys flagship stores in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Seattle.

ABG in a press release on Thursday said it had “emerged as the successful bidder to purchase” the intellectual property of Barneys. “We are thrilled that our offer for Barneys has been accepted,” ABG Chief Executive Jamie Salter said in a statement. ABG also owns licenses for the Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie, Juicy Couture, and Sports Illustrated brands.

Last week, in a post on its Instagram account, Barneys said the offer from ABG was a stalking-horse bid and that it was still actively pursuing options that would keep its stores open.

In an open letter on savebarneysny.com, Ben-Avraham said the company was an “anchor point” for New York. “The brand as we know it today will disappear from our lives if it becomes an intellectual property license operation.”

Five years after the acquisition by the Dubai-based private equity group Istithmar World, Perry Capital, a hedge fund, acquired a majority stake in the company. The transaction reduced the company’s $590 million debt load to $50 million.

As of July 6, 2019, according to court filings, Barneys had assets of $457 million and liabilities of $377 million.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images