Ascena Retail Group Acquires Charming Shoppes

by Nate Hunter

Suffern, NY — Ascena Retail Group, Inc. — parent company of Dress Barn and other brands — has completed its acquisition of Charming Shoppes, Inc.


Suffern, NY — Ascena Retail Group, Inc. has completed its acquisition of Charming Shoppes, Inc., a leading apparel retailer specializing in women’s plus-size apparel. Charming Shoppes shareholders received $7.35 for each share of Charming Shoppes. Ascena financed the approximately $900 million transaction through a combination of cash on hand and $325 million of borrowings from its credit facilities.

Charming Shoppes, which operates, among other things, the LANE BRYANT® and CATHERINES PLUS SIZES® retail store brands and e-commerce businesses, will now operate as a separate subsidiary of Ascena. The combined company now operates approximately 3,800 locations.

“We are delighted to announce the completion of this exciting merger with Charming Shoppes,” says David Jaffe, president and chief executive officer of Ascena. “We believe that we have a significant opportunity to fully realize the significant potential of this business. The Lane Bryant and Catherine’s businesses are extremely complementary to our other concepts and we expect them to integrate seamlessly. We are confident that our combined company will have significant competitive advantages and that this transaction will enable us to continue to demonstrate our leadership position in the specialty retail market.”

Ascena plans to cease operating and close down Charming Shoppes’ FASHION BUG® business by early 2013. In 2011, Charming Shoppes closed 124 Fashion Bug stores. Charming Shoppes had previously announced its intention to continue to close certain Fashion Bug stores. In addition, Ascena is exploring a potential sale of Charming Shoppes’ Figi’s® business, which markets food and specialty gift products.

BofA Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor and Proskauer Rose LLP as legal advisor for Ascena. Barclays Inc. acted as financial advisor and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP as legal advisors for Charming Shoppes.

Ascena Retail Group, Inc. is a leading national specialty retailer of apparel for women and tween girls, operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries, the dressbarn, maurices and Justice brands. Ascena operates through its subsidiaries approximately 2,600 stores throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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SOURCE: Ascena Retail Group, Inc.

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