About $1.5 billion could be the magic number to buy a one-time dominating force in the mall.
That's how much BMO Capital Markets estimated in a note on Friday it would cost for a suitor to swallow up teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) . On Wednesday, the retailer confirmed that it's in talks with at least two parties to sell itself.
"After receiving expressions of interest, it is in preliminary discussions with several parties regarding a potential transaction," Abercrombie said in a terse statement. Abercrombie shares closed up 12.2% on the trading session. The stock has continued to meander higher since then. Abercrombie's current market capitalization is about $954 million.
The Wall Street Journal reported that rival mall retailers Express (EXPR) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) are among the interested parties. BMO believes American Eagle would be the more logical buyer for Abercrombie as a combination of the two would lead to substantial cost savings, likely as overlapping stores are closed.
New CEO Fran Horowitz told TheStreet in an interview last quarter that her challenge is to revamp Abercrombie's classic Americana brand, a departure from the splashy logo-driven image that drove Abercrombie to its former popularity among teenagers. Even still, the retailer may have to continue to shrink its store base due to persistent sales declines.