The US teen apparel company Abercrombie & Fitch Co. reported that, after receiving expressions of interest, it is in preliminary discussions with several parties regarding a potential transaction of the company. Despite, Abercrombie & Fitch didn’t confirm any further details on the operations nor can they assure that such discussions will lead to a definitive agreement or to a final transaction.
In the last few days, rumors circulated that Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was evaluating takeover interests from other retailers with the help of investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners, according to Reuters.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. could be in merger talks with at least two interested buyers. Among the suitors there could be apparel chains Express Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc., as reported by some US press.
The company, founded in Ohio in the early ‘90s and most successful especially among teenagers for its logo-stamped t-shirts and sweaters since the early 2000s, seems to have lost its appeal. The company's operating income shrunk from USD72.8 million in 2015 to USD15.2 million in 2016, as fast-fashion competitors and competition from online retailers weighed on its profitability.
Abercrombie has a market capitalization of $862 million and operates through a total of about 900 stores worldwide (709 stores in the United States and 189 stores outside the United States) as of the end of January. Abercrombie has recently also been seeking to cut costs and downsize its retail footprint. It announced earlier this year that it would let the leases of approximately 60 U.S. stores expire, in addition to several other locations it has already closed.
In April 2017, in order to try and gain more revenues and push its e-commerce activities, the company has signed a partnership with Asian online retailer Zalora to sell Abercrombie and the younger surf-inspired Hollister brands.