Barneys New York’s Fate Is Sealed After Authentic Brands Acquisition Gets Court Approval

A bankruptcy judge approved the bid on Oct. 31

Barneys New York's bankruptcy saga has come to an end Getty Images
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Barneys New York’s bankruptcy woes have come to an end—and likely, so has the store’s storied history as a standalone retailer.

On Oct. 31, a New York State bankruptcy court approved the sale of Barneys New York to Authentic Brands, parent company of brands like Frederick’s of Hollywood and Nine West, and financial services company B. Riley, a spokesperson for Barneys confirmed New York to Adweek.

Any last-minute buyers had until 10 a.m. on Nov. 1 to come forward with their bids, but none surfaced. The retailer’s intellectual property and assets reportedly sold for $271.4 million.

“Over the past several months, we have worked diligently with the court, our lenders and creditors to maximize the value of the Barneys assets and we’re pleased to have reached the conclusion of this process,” read a statement from Barneys New York provided to Adweek. “Earlier today, the court closed on the approved sale of Barneys New York to Authentic Brands Group, in partnership with Saks. We want to thank all of our hard-working employees, talented designers and vendors, and our loyal customers for being part of the storied history and iconic brand that is Barneys New York.”

Authentic Brands’ plan is to license the Barneys name to its longtime rival Saks Fifth Avenue and create a Barneys-branded line to sell within stores, but to close the standalone Barneys brick-and-mortar locations. This news may trigger massive liquidation sales as early as this weekend, according to the New York Times.

The news of a likely sale to Authentic Brands first hit headlines earlier this month, but there were reportedly several parties interested in buying Barneys at the last minute. They included David Jackson, who was previously CEO of Dubai-based Istithmar World, which owned Barneys from 2007 to 2012.

According to the New York Post, Jackson was working to find backers to make the acquisition happen, but Barneys’ advisers were not interested in accepting. Another potential savior for the brand could have been retail and trade show investor Sam Ben-Avraham, who had started a “Save Barneys” campaign on Instagram in hopes of keeping its stores open. However, he did not put in a last-minute bid before the sale became final at 10 a.m. on Nov. 1, announcing his decision not to in several Instagram Story posts:

Sam Ben-Avraham's Instagram Story posts

Rumors of financial trouble for Barneys New York first surfaced earlier this year, before a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was announced in August. At the time, it appeared that Barneys would endeavor to save its most high-profile brick-and-mortar locations: the flagships on Madison Avenue and in downtown Manhattan, as well as the locations in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Copley Place in Boston.

Barneys New York has long been regarded as the most cutting edge of the department store circuit, often being the first to buy from little-known designers who would go on to become household names.

This is Authentic Brands’ second high-profile acquisition of 2019: The company also purchased Sports Illustrated from Meredith Corporation earlier this year.

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.