Correia discussed Ascena's acquisition plans during an interview conducted at the 14th Annual ICR Xchange Conference held in Miami Jan. 10-12. The Daily Deal previously reported that Ascena, formerly known as Dress Barn Inc., could look to add another retail concept to its portfolio.
The CFO said Ascena could "take a look" at Charming Shoppes Inc. and its Fashion Bug Retail Cos. and Lane Bryant Inc. concepts, for example. He also pointed to Talbots Inc. and private equity-owned Claire's Stores Inc. as attractive targets if the companies hit the auction block.
Bensalem, Pa.-based Charming Shoppes announced on Dec. 1 that it had hired Barclays Capital as its financial adviser to assist in the divestiture of Fashion Bug as well as conduct a strategic review of the entire company.
Talbots, meanwhile, hired Perella Weinberg Partners LP as its financial adviser on Dec. 20 to evaluate strategic alternatives and signed a confidentiality agreement with private equity firm Sycamore Partners LLC on Jan. 30.
Charming Shoppes officials were not available for comment. Perella Weinberg did not return calls.
Ascena is looking to use acquisitions to realize its goal to achieve 15% earnings growth.
As of Oct. 29, the company had $246 million in cash and cash equivalents and no long-term debt, according to a 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 8.
Correia said the company could also use its cash to buy back stock, though he declined to comment further.
Apollo Management LP acquired Claire's in March 2007 for $3.1 billion. A source said there is a possibility that Apollo could accept stock in Ascena if that company and Claire's were merged.
Ascena operates the Dress Barn, Maurices and Justice retail chains and its revenues for the fiscal year ended July 30 were $2.9 billion, while operating income was $290 million, according to a Sept. 28 10-K filing with the SEC.
Ascena chief executive David Jaffe previously told The Daily Deal that the company would seek retailers similar in nature to the three concepts it already operates to realize synergies and could either target underperforming businesses or 100-store retail chains. He said he is open to talking to investment banks with acquisition opportunities.
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