By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
Bergdorf Goodman, the 122-year-old department store, may be up for grabs—which may potentially lead it to find a new address.
As reported by the NY Post, Bergdorf Goodman is entertaining bankers and potential bidders as its current owner, Neiman Marcus, considers a potential sale. Neiman Marcus, which has owned the Fifth Avenue beacon since 1972, has been selling off assets including offices and art trying to raise cash since emerging from bankruptcy in September. Insiders told the Post, that Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. may be among the interested buyers. The New York investment firm is looking for a tenant to fill its void at 660 Madison Ave.–created when department store and former tenant Barneys liquidated in December 2019. Talks between Neiman and Ashkenazy regarding Bergdorf Goodman have “recently heated up,” said a Post source with knowledge of the situation.
Should Ashkenazy Acquisition join a group that buys Bergdorf, the former Barneys space, located at the corner of East 60th Street, would be eyed to move both the women’s and men’s Bergdorf stores. Currently, Bergdorf has separate department stores on both sides of Fifth Avenue on East 58th Street, with the larger women’s store on the west, and the men’s building on the east.
Neiman denied a sale but did not comment on whether the company has recently held talks with bankers and potential bidders. “We have no intention nor are we looking to sell Bergdorf Goodman at this time,” a Neiman spokesperson said. “We are strategically investing in our business and our brands with the intention of growing and strengthening the company.”
A source close to the company added that Neiman is not in “active conversations regarding a sale.” Experts, who predict Bergdorf would cost roughly $1.5 billion, say other interested bidders would include big names including billionaire Bernard Arnault, who leads French luxury giant LVMH. Arnault has “always been obsessed” with Bergdorf, said a source close to Neiman Marcus.
Yet another potential buyer for Bergdorf could be WeWork founder Adam Neumann and Sam Ben-Avraham. The duo had bid for Barneys in 2019, and have reportedly expressed interest in Bergdorf.
Sales and profits at Bergdorf Goodman have tumbled during the pandemic, but the circumstances might not keep buyers from seeing the company’s prospective value. “A buyer will be buying into the potential rather than the performance of the brand,” one source close told the Post. “Because the company is doing so poorly. It’s been a struggle.”
Reps for Ashkenazy and LVMH didn’t respond to request for comment. Ben-Avraham through a spokesperson denied expressing interest in Bergdorf Goodman. Mr. Neumann declined to comment.