J.C. Penney Co. to acquire Liz Claiborne brands for $268 million

Plano, Texas -- J. C. Penney Co. said Wednesday it will acquire the worldwide rights for the Liz Claiborne family of brands, as well as the United States and Puerto Rico rights for the Monet brand for $267.5 million.

The company has been the exclusive licensee for all Liz Claiborne and Claiborne-branded merchandise in the United States and Puerto Rico since August 2010.

The two companies have operated under a 10-year agreement that would allow J.C. Penney to acquire the brands after year five of the agreement or again at year 10.  Wednesday’s announcement accelerates the original agreement and includes the acquisition of jewelry brand Monet. 

“The brands we are acquiring hold tremendous appeal for our customers, and the performance of the Liz Claiborne and Claiborne brands at J.C. Penney has consistently exceeded our high expectations,” said Mike Ullman, CEO. “We will now build on that strength to accelerate the brands' performance."

The deal includes the entire Liz Claiborne brand portfolio, including Liz Claiborne, Claiborne, Liz, Liz & Co., Concepts by Claiborne, LC, Elizabeth, LizGolf, LizSport, Liz Claiborne New York (LCNY) and Lizwear brands. Once its brands are divested, Liz Claiborne will focus on its Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and kate spade brands. It will pick a new name to reflect the change.

The transaction between Penney and Liz, which is expected to close within 30 days, also keeps the Liz Claiborne design team in place.