Sycamore Partners wins bankruptcy auction for The Limited -sources

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By Jessica DiNapoli

<span class="articleLocation”>Buyout firm Sycamore Partners has won the
auction for the e-commerce business and intellectual property of
bankrupt U.S. women’s apparel retailer The Limited with a bid of
$26.8 million, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Sycamore Partners outbid clothing firm Sunrise Brands LLC in
the auction, the people said, asking not to be identified
because the outcome has not yet been announced.

Sycamore Partners declined to comment. Sunrise Brands and
The Limited did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sale to Sycamore Partners must still be approved by a
U.S. bankruptcy court judge.

The Limited was forced to close its roughly 250
brick-and-mortar stores earlier this year. It filed for
bankruptcy last month, with Sycamore Partners as a
stalking-horse bidder.

Sunrise Brands, whose holdings include branded apparel for
actresses Melissa McCarthy and Eva Longoria, submitted an offer
for The Limited last week.

The bankruptcy auction underscores the interest that the
e-commerce business and intellectual property of even bankrupt
retailers can attract. Retailers such as The Limited are
experiencing a major upheaval as consumer tastes change and
online competitors thrive.

Sycamore Partners’ retail portfolio includes department
store chain Belk, footwear and accessories line Nine West and
online-only women’s apparel company Coldwater Creek, whose
intellectual property it acquired through bankruptcy proceedings
in 2014.

The Limited opened its first store in Ohio in 1963 and
expanded across the country, becoming the centerpiece around
which U.S. retailing guru Leslie Wexner founded specialty shop
powerhouse L Brands Inc. L Brands, now the parent company
for intimates chain Victoria’s Secret and toiletry retailer Bath
& Body Works, owned The Limited until 2007, when buyout firm Sun
Capital Partners Inc took a majority share in it.

Sun Capital noted in a letter to investors earlier this year
that it had almost doubled its investment in the retailer even
as it was preparing to file for bankruptcy.

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