Saks Parent HBC to Buy Neiman Marcus Group for $2.65 Billion, Including Investment from Amazon

Marking the culmination of nearly seven years of on-again, off-again negotiations, HBC, parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, will acquire another storied luxury department store brand, Neiman Marcus, for $2.65 billion.

Amazon will be an investor in the newly formed Saks Global, which also will include the Saks Off 5th brand. Current Saks.com CEO Marc Metrick will become Saks Global’s new CEO. All four brands will continue to operate under their respective banner names.

“We’re thrilled to take this step in bringing together these iconic luxury names, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman,” said Richard Baker, Executive Chairman and CEO of HBC in a statement. “For years, many in the industry have anticipated this transaction and the benefits it would drive for customers, partners and employees. This is an exciting time in luxury retail, with technological advancements creating new opportunities to redefine the customer experience.”

In January 2024 Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffrey van Raemdonck had seemingly put an end to the long-brewing acquisition rumors, telling CNBC that he saw “no need” to sell the business. Negotiations for a potential purchase of the luxury department store retailer stretch as far back as 2017. Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy in 2020, and later shed nearly $4 billion in debt and began a transformation effort in early 2023.

No time frame has been given for the deal’s closing, but the boards of both retail companies have approved the transaction. The newly constituted Saks Global will include HBC’s U.S. real estate assets and Neiman Marcus Group’s real estate assets, creating a $7 billion portfolio of retail real estate in luxury shopping destinations. Ian Putnam, currently President and CEO of HBC Properties and Investments, will become CEO of Saks Global Properties and Investments.

Amazon’s investment in the acquisition includes technological and logistical support, and this may signal the ecommerce giant’s growing interest in the department store vertical, according to industry observer Richard Kestenbaum. In Forbes, Kestenbaum wrote: “It could be that [Amazon] is expecting a return by selling services to the combined company and the investment locks the business in. But it could also mean that it is providing a new point of view from the very top, the board level of the combined company. If that’s the case, it could enable Saks-Neiman’s to provide seamless online and physical store services that other competitors don’t offer.”

Kestenbaum noted that Amazon “had hoped for big growth in supermarkets but it has proven a big challenge to crack into the top five performers in that industry. Department store services and technology, while not as big as grocery, could be a more accessible opportunity for Amazon and a great learning exercise.”

To fund the acquisition, HBC has secured $1.15 billion in term loan financing from funds and accounts managed by affiliates of Apollo, and a $2 billion revolving asset-based loan facility from lead underwriter Bank of America and other major financial institutions.