Don’t write off BCBG Max Azria Group yet.

Two brand licensing companies stepped forward this month to buy a majority of the bankrupt Vernon clothing company’s assets, including some of its retail store leases, as an ongoing concern, according to a press release.

That might save it from the fate suffered by downtown’s Nasty Gal Inc. and American Apparel Inc., both of which were forced to close all their stores after outside companies bought the intellectual property in bankruptcy court but decided not to continue the retail locations.

BCBG Max Azria declared bankruptcy in February, citing the same ailments affecting other retailers, including the migration of sales online from brick-and-mortar outposts as well as younger consumers putting a lower premium on brands. The company reported a loss of $112 million after taxes for the year ended Jan. 28, according to an investor announcement by potential buyer Global Brands Group Holding. Liabilities exceeded assets by $457 million as of that date.

BCBG Max Azria sought permission from the court to close 120 stores in April.

Global Brands more recently agreed to pay $23 million and assume all liabilities for certain inventory, retail store leases and other assets as well as contract rights relating to BCBG Max Azria’s retail, wholesale and e-commerce operations, according to the Hong Kong-based investor.

Global Brands, in turn, expects to license the BCBG Max Azria brand from New York-based Marquee Brands.

Marquee has agreed to acquire BCBG Max Azria’s intellectual property, which Global Brands plans to license. Marquee acquired Redondo Beach-based wetsuit company Body Glove in November.

The deals for BCBG Max Azria’s assets still have to be approved by a judge.

All three companies involved said they expect the deals to close by July 31.

Exporting Burgers

CB Franchise Systems’ upscale burger chains the Counter and Built will be popping up in England and Scotland this month.

The Culver City-based restaurant company struck a deal with Birmingham, England, real estate investment company Daniel Johns, which has a food franchise branch, to open a Counter location in Glasgow and a Built location in London, according to a press release. Daniel Johns plans to invest 20 million pounds, or about $25.5 million, to open more locations over the next five years.

CB requires that international franchisees pay a $60,000 licensing fee and 6 percent of gross sales on an ongoing basis, according to its website. The company estimates that franchisees need between $750,000 and $2.46 million to launch an outpost.

The company has a total of about 40 restaurants worldwide, according to the press release. The majority of Counter restaurants are in California, but there are also some in a handful of U.S. states and in countries including Ireland and Ghana.

Jeff Weinstein founded CB in 2003.

The gourmet burger space has since become crowded with entrants including hospitality group SBE’s Umami Burger, which Adam Fleischman started in Mid-Wilshire in 2009. SBE has said it also plans to expand Umami internationally.

Sweet Deal

Nestle is considering selling its U.S. candy business, the Swiss conglomerate with headquarters in Glendale announced last week.

The company’s portfolio, which includes well-known candy brands such as BabyRuth, Butterfinger, Crunch and SweeTarts, generated sales of about $923 million last year, according to the company. Nestle’s total sales for all of its businesses reached $91.8 billion in that period.

The move comes as other candy companies, including McLean, Va.’s Mars Inc., are trying to shift their business away from sugar in response to Americans’ changing dietary preferences.

The company plans to keep its Toll House baking products and global confectionary business, which includes KitKat, according to the announcement.

Nestle’s other products include pet food, bottled water, and coffee. Its largest business, powdered and liquid beverages, generated $20.3 billion in 2016.

The company announced in February that it would start moving its U.S. headquarters to Rosslyn, Va., later this year.

Staff reporter Caroline Anderson can be reached at canderson@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8329.

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