ABG Says It Acquired Barneys NYC, Ben-Avraham Says Not So Fast

The future of Barneys NYC Inc. was upended Oct. 24 when the stalking-horse bidder, Authentic Brands Group, claimed that it had acquired the influential, but bankrupt retailer, and a competitor, Sam Ben-Avraham, objected and said that the bidding process was not over.

“It’s not a done deal,” Ben-Avraham said. “They’re still waiting until the 31st. Another party might come with a more appealing deal.”

Ben-Avraham is well-known in the fashion business for founding prominent trade shows such as Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs and Project. He assembled a group of investors to acquire Barneys. The group includes Ron Burkle of Yucaipa Companies and Khajak Keledjian, founder of retailer Intermix.

He also mounted a social media campaign called “Save Barneys” through which he gained more than 19,000 signatures supporting his group’s bid.

“It’s still a relevant business,” Ben-Avraham said of Barneys. “A lot of people depend on business with Barneys. A lot of its employees still go to work. They are confused by the fake news. It is very irresponsible to make the announcement.”

ABG did not answer requests for comment by press time. In a statement released by ABG, it said that the closing conditions for its purchasing agreement will be wrapped up on Oct. 31 at a hearing United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The transaction will be officially closed by Nov. 1.

In a statement released by ABG, Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, said that the bid was accepted. It would license Barneys’ intellectual property. Saks Fifth Avenue is scheduled to become a retail partner for Barneys in U.S. and Canada. The ABG statement said that it will selectively license the Barneys name around the world. It also will maintain Barneys’ current licensing agreement with Seven & i Holdings which operates 12 Barneys stores in Japan.

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