By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
New York—Licensing company Authentic Brands Group is looking like the likely winner in the auction for storied retailer Barneys New York, but there’s still time for another winning bid to be placed.

ABG announced Thursday it had emerged as the successful bidder to purchase the intellectual property of the storied retailer after rival offers fell flat in court last week.

The company’s bid is $271.4 million.

ABG said its initial focus, should the deal go through, will be on high fashion collaborations, namesake products, lively dining and premium shopping experiences.

ABG also said it will selectively license the brand around the world and assume the brand marketing, business development and brand management functions for Barneys and its intellectual property.

And, following the purchase of the intellectual property, Saks Fifth Avenue would become Barneys’ retail partner in the U.S. and Canada, which, according to several reports, could include shop-in-shops.

A company spokesperson told National Jeweler that conversations about what would happen to the current Barneys retail stores are “still ongoing,” though according to the initial deal the brick-and-mortar stores would be shuttered.

CNBC reported Authentic Brands has been in talks with Barneys’ landlords about keeping at least one of its stores open, and The Wall Street Journal reported the Boston store could remain open as well.


The sale is subject to final approval by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York at a hearing on Oct. 31, meaning there is still time for another winner to come forward.

Barneys filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 6 in New York amid soaring costs and declining sales.

ABG was the first to make a move, but this was followed soon after by a campaign started by streetwear brand Kith co-founder Sam Ben-Avraham and several other investors to save the legendary retailer and keep its stores open.

In an open letter he posted on SaveBarneysNY.com, Ben-Avraham said the retailer’s “impact on culture cannot be understated. The brand as we know it today will disappear from our lives if it becomes an intellectual property license operation. Its unique identity, its point of view, its cutting-edge agenda will be lost.”

He went on to say that his investor group had a different plan from ABG that “doesn’t involve mass layoffs and store closures,” it said.

Near the end he implored: “We cannot sit on the sidelines. Let’s show the world that we still care by signing this petition. Let’s give Barneys the future it deserves. Let’s breathe new life into this iconic New York establishment.”

Now, the group has until Oct. 31 to win the bid and save Barneys. According to the campaign’s Instagram account, the group will “be working day and night until then.”

In a statement to National Jeweler, Barneys said: “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 Oct. 31 sale hearing.”


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