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Abercrombie ends investment talks to save brand, continues business as usual

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (Abercrombie) has announced it will not engage in any of the transactions it was considering to save the brand and instead will focus on its current strategy to increase shareholder value.

Abercrombie began considering offers among third parties to help save the brand back in May of 2017. The company has now announced it has terminated those discussions and will not accept a transaction to boost corporate value. Instead, Abercrombie will continue on its trajectory of rebranding its namesake brand as well as building its Hollister business. Arthur Martinez, Executive Chairman of the Board of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said "We are generating solid comp store sales momentum at Hollister and continue to refine and implement strategies to position the Abercrombie brand for revitalized performance." The strategies Martinez pointed to include a heavy focus on marketing as well as omnichannel sales. Additionally he noted improved operational efficiency. This announcement comes in the midst of a retail rebranding that Abercrombie has been rolling out this spring and summer. The new concept for the brand's brick and mortar store experience is a scaled down, more intimate and approachable one compared to what Abercrombie has historically offered. Martinez projects Abercrombie's financials will start to show improvement under the existing strategy starting in the second half of this year. Reuters also reported on Monday that Private equity firm Sycamore Partners came closest to acquiring Abercrombie & Fitch Co, but could not meet the U.S. teen apparel retailer company's valuation expectations, citing sources familiar with the matter. Sycamore agreed two weeks ago to acquire U.S. office supplies chain Staples Inc for $6.9 billion, the biggest deal in the buyout firm's history. That deal shifted its focus away from Abercrombie, the sources said. The price Sycamore offered and the discrepancy with Abercrombie's valuation expectations could not be learned. Abercrombie could revisit a potential deal in the future, one of the sources added. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Abercrombie and Sycamore did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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