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Is Tween Brand Justice Really Worth $90M?

Justice, the one-time Ascena portfolio brand addressing the juniors market of image-conscious adolescent girls, has a new parent.

Bluestar Alliance was named the winning bidder at a bankruptcy court auction for the tween brand, which collapsed along with Ann Taylor owner Ascena Retail Group into bankruptcy in July.

Bluestar, which owns brands including Hurley, Bebe, Tahari, Kensie, Limited Too, Nanette Lepore and Catherine Malandrino, is paying $90 million for Justice assets and will assume certain liabilities. On Nov. 12, the bankruptcy court is expected to approve the sale transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the month.

Bluestar co-founding CEO Joseph Gabbay described Justice as “an important asset with years of growth ahead.”

“An icon of tween culture, with its influence felt across fashion, lifestyle, pop-culture and more, we see opportunity for global brand extensions and partnerships,” he added.

Meanwhile, fellow co-founder Ralph Gindi sees growth opportunities in “categories and distribution” for the “world’s best-known tween brand.”

“Our goal is to create even deeper connections with our consumers and the brand, while expanding Justice’s reach and footprint,” Gindi added. “Our future retailer partner will appreciate the heritage of the brand, and truly commit to servicing the Justice customer.”

Winding down the Justice brand sale will help Ascena accelerate its restructuring while maximizing shareholder value, said Ascena CEO Gary Muto.

“The optimization of our portfolio better positions Ascena for long-term success and supports our vision for the future,” Muto said. “As we seamlessly transition ownership of Justice over the coming weeks, we remain committed to delivering meaningful experiences for our customers every day.”

Ascena said Justice stores will remain open for the holiday season but shut down by early next year.

The juniors market has spurred fashion companies like Mango, Old Navy and Francesca’s to invest in recent months in hopes of finding new areas of growth.