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Forever 21 in deal to sell itself for bargain price of $81 million

Forever 21 is looking to sell its retail business to a group that includes two of its biggest landlords.

According to documents filed in bankruptcy court, the fast-fashion chain has reached an agreement to sell its assets to a group of buyers that includes Simon Property Group Inc., Brookfield Property Partners and Authentic Brands Group for $81 million. In the filing, Forever 21 said it is seeking approval to name the three companies at the lead, stalking-horse bidders in an auction. The sale would include all of Forever 21’s assets, including its namesake stores, RileyRose beauty stores and its e-commerce platforms.

Other potential buyers have until Friday, Feb.7, to make a counteroffer. If other bids are made, an auction will be held on Feb. 10. Forever 21 is looking to seek approval of the sale by Feb. 11.

Forever 21, a privately held company founded by the Chang family, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, with a plan to close most of its global locations and up to 178 U.S. stores. The company had a total of 815 stores at the time of the filing. In court fillings in December, Forever 21 disclosed it has renegotiated its loan to avoid a default in bankruptcy. 

While not common, this is not the first time mall owners have stepped in to save a major tenant from likely liquidation. In 2016, Simon and General Growth Properties, now owned by Brookfield Properties, partnered together as part of a group that won an auction to buy the Aeropostale brand out of bankruptcy court, ultimately keeping its stores open.

Simon and Brookfield ranks among Forever 21’s largest unsecured creditors. 

The third partner in the group to save Forever 21 is Authentic Brands Group, which recently purchased the intellectual assets of Barneys New York, after it filed for bankruptcy.

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