Istithmar Buys Barneys

The rumored Barneys acquisition has come to fruition. Dubai-based Isithmar will pay Jones Apparel Group $825 million for the chain.

Women's Wear Daily has an in-depth look at the implications of the deal, including how it may affect Barneys' expansion plans.

On Sunday, Howard Socol, Barneys' chairman and chief executive officer, told WWD he signed a new contract with Istithmar [which means investment in Arabic] to stay on at Barneys. Socol visited Palm Islands a year ago to explore the possibility of a Barneys store there. "That's how Istithmar developed an interest in Barneys," said one source. When Jones Apparel Group in its entirety was up for sale last year, Istithmar expressed an interest in acquiring Barneys, but Jones hesitated to sell an individual asset.

Socol has also visited London, triggering reports that Barneys would open a store there, too. But that's a tough proposition, considering Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods are entrenched in the British capital and the cost of real estate there is exorbitant.

Macao is also said to be on Barneys' radar. The Asian island nation is undergoing a casino-fueled boom that has many luxury brands viewing it as the next Las Vegas, or even bigger, in terms of gambling.

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