Authentic Brands and SPARC set to clinch Brooks Brothers

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past a closed Brooks Brothers store, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - U.S. apparel retailer Brooks Brothers said late Tuesday it is likely to be acquired by Authentic Brands Group LLC and SPARC Group LLC after they increased their offer to $325 million.

The 200-year old iconic apparel retailer filed for bankruptcy last month, joining a slew of decades-old American retailers that have succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPARC, a venture backed by brand manager Authentic Brands Group LLC and mall operator Simon Property Group Inc, has agreed to continue operating at least 125 Brooks Brothers retail locations as part of the deal.

Brooks Brothers, famous for its bespoke men’s suits, said a hearing to approve the sale was currently scheduled for Aug. 14, with the deal expected to be completed by this month-end.

The company later clinched a $305 million “stalking horse” deal with SPARC that set the floor for other offers in a bankruptcy auction.

Brooks Brothers had already been struggling as corporate America, including Wall Street, relaxed its dress code for employees, allowing them to choose casual dressing over bespoke suits.

The U.S. retailer had set a deadline last week to receive offers better than Authentic Brands and Simon Property’s, but none came in, sources familiar with the matter had told Reuters.

Brooks Brothers’ restructuring counsel was Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, while PJ Solomon LP served as its investment banker and Ankura Consulting Group was the financial adviser.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Aditya Soni and Sherry Jacob-Phillips