Forever 21 has a new owner.
The teen mall staple, which went bankrupt in September, has been snapped up by a consortium of buyers comprising Authentic Brands Group, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners. As part of the acquisition, ABG and Simon will each own 37.5% of the fast-fashion retailer, while Brookfield will take control of the remaining 25% of Forever 21’s intellectual property and operating businesses.
It’s not the first time that the three companies have joined forces to rescue a struggling retailer: In 2016, ABG and Simon partnered with mall owner General Growth Properties, now owned by Brookfield, to save Aeropostale from liquidation.
According to ABG, the Forever 21 acquisition will have an ownership structure that’s similar to that of the Aeropostale deal; the acquisition is also intended to boost the brand management firm’s portfolio to roughly $12.5 billion in global annual retail sales.
“Forever 21 is a powerful retail brand with incredible consumer reach and a wealth of untapped potential,” ABG founder, chairman and CEO Jamie Salter said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to working with the Forever 21 team and our global partners. Together, we’ll revitalize the brand’s core business and connect with audiences around the world through new product offerings and experiences.”
Forever 21 was founded in 1984 by South Korean husband and wife team Do Won Chang and Jin Sook Chang, and it had remained a privately held company since then. However, with changing preferences among its target shoppers, who are increasingly turning to e-commerce for fashion, it joined a rapidly expanding list of retailers that have filed for Chapter 11 protection in a bid to restructure and rightsize their store fleets.
In its bankruptcy filing in September, Forever 21 noted that it had employed 43,000 people and recorded $4.1 billion in annual sales at its peak. It added that its estimated assets were on par with liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.
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