A bankruptcy court has approved Ascena Retail Group’s Chapter 11 plans.
Under the plans, Ascena — which owns Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Loft and Lou & Grey — will be renamed Mahwah Bergen Retail Group.
Ascena originally filed for bankruptcy last July. In December, private equity firm Sycamore Partners agreed to acquire the company — and bring it out of bankruptcy — for $540 million. The deal is valued at $1 billion overall.
As of Oct. 31, 2020, Ascena had total assets of $2.2 million and total liabilities of approximately $3 million. A representative for Ascena did not respond to a request for comment.
Under the terms of the deal, first disclosed late last year, 900 of the company’s stores were required to remain open — but a big mall owner has challenged Sycamore’s intentions to keep up that end of the agreement.
Simon Property Group, the country’s largest mall owner, objected to the plan after Sycamore disclosed its intention to close 160 stores in Simon-owned malls.
The mall owner told the court in February that Sycamore was preparing to violate the spirit of the restructuring plan by preserving stores whose leases expired the soonest. Once the plan took effect, leases would expire, leading to the closure of more locations.
Sycamore “has repeatedly bankrupted retailers it acquired to the detriment of their creditors,” the objection reads. The document goes on to cite Sycamore’s alleged failure with retailers Nine West and Belk.
Mall owner Taubman filed an objection backing up Simon’s.
It’s not the first time Simon has clashed with Sycamore.
Sycamore similarly previously offered $1.75 billion to buy J.C. Penney, which is now owned by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management. Under their plan, Sycamore would rebrand 250 JCPenney stores to the Belk name and liquidate the rest. The plan was eventually rejected.