NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) are higher by 2.39% to $14.55 in mid-morning trading on Monday, after the national specialty retailer announced that it will be acquiring Ann Inc. (ANN), the parent company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, for $47 per share, a transaction that values Ann at approximately $2 billion.
Ann has struggled in recent quarters due to a weak retail environment, which has been characterized by heavy discounting and strong competition, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Shares of Ann Inc. are jumping by 20.38% to $46.60 this morning.
"This powerful transaction joins two strong and highly complementary organizations and management teams and dramatically reinforces our leadership position in women's specialty apparel retailing. We are excited to further leverage our uniquely capable operating platform and exceptional combined talent to drive immediate, significant and ongoing value for our stockholders," Ascena CEO David Jaffe said in a statement announcing the deal.
"With the addition of the Ann Taylor and LOFT brands, Ascena will become one of North America's largest and most diversified specialty apparel retailers, with a tremendous set of opportunities to continue to expand its leadership position in the women's apparel market," Jaffe added.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ASCENA RETAIL GROUP INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: