Wet Seal to Acquire G&G Retail (WTSLA, HOTT)

Includes: HOTT, WTSL
by: Andrea Wasserman

Women's Wear Daily reports (sub req) that contemporary apparel retailer Wet Seal (ticker: WTSLA) has entered into an agreement to buy another contemporary retailer, G&G Retail Inc., for $15.2 million. G&G filed for Chapter 11 on Thursday night.

The offer from Wet Seal was better than that from the joint venture led by Gordon Brothers Retail Partners. Additionally, Wet Seal wants to keep G&G's business open, making it more likely that many store associates will keep their jobs (Gordon Brothers planned to liquidate the company). Wet Seal said it would initially operate 450 stores under the Rave, Rave Girl and G&G brands. As of last week G&G operated 566 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Women's Wear Daily cautions:

Because the acquisition requires bankruptcy court approval and is subject to better offers, there's still a possibility that others could come in and best Wet Seal's bid. An industry source close to G&G said that strategic and financial players are also now eyeing G&G, such as Max Azria/BCBG, Rainbow Shops and Hot Topic (ticker: HOTT), as well as Gordon Brothers.

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