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Lane Bryant's Parent Company Buys Ann Taylor for $2.2 Billion

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Ascena Retail, the company behind Lane Bryant, Cacique, and Dressbarn, announced this morning that it has bought the Ann Taylor brand in a deal valued at $2.2 billion. (Rumors that Ann Taylor was looking for a buyout had been flying around for a couple months now.) According to an Ascena press release detailing the buyout, the transaction is expected to be finalized in the second half of this year.

"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," Ascena's president and CEO David Jaffe said in a statement.

Kay Krill, the president and CEO of Ann Taylor, will continue to lead the brand under its new ownership. "The transaction will make us part of a larger organization with a diversified portfolio of brands focused on the women's apparel market, a strong operating platform and a powerful financial base," Krill said in a statement. "As a member of the Ascena family, Ann, Inc. will be poised to further enhance and grow our business as we continue to take steps to better strategically and operationally position our brands for the dynamics that are redefining the landscape of the women's specialty retailing industry."

Ann Taylor has been working hard to rise above other struggling mall brands, and it'll be interesting to see how the brand is affected by the change in ownership.