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Forever 21 Wants Its Biggest Landlords To Prevent Liquidation In Upcoming Bankruptcy

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Forever 21 Wants Its Biggest Landlords To Prevent Liquidation In Upcoming Bankruptcy

Apparel retailer Forever 21 is fighting for its life, and it wants to enlist the help of its biggest landlords.

Forever 21 is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy, and may do so once it lines up a reorganization plan to prevent closing its stores, Bloomberg reports. Part of that plan may include landlords Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners taking ownership shares of their tenant.

Simon and General Growth Properties, which Brookfield has since acquired, led a group of buyers in acquiring Aeropostale and preventing it from going under in 2016. That deal kept around 200 stores open and turned into a moneymaker, Simon CEO David Simon told investors in an earnings call earlier this year.

The outcome of that deal has encouraged Simon to explore future equity investments in retail chains as a way of keeping private equity firms from stripping those chains for parts and closing stores. With Forever 21, two of the biggest retail landlords in the country have the opportunity to save over 800 stores, Bloomberg reports.

Though Simon and GGP paid $243M for Aeropostale three years ago, Forever 21's negotiations so far have involved plans that include trading shares in the company for considerations like rent forgiveness, Bloomberg reports. Forever 21 had previously engaged private equity firm and takeover specialist Apollo Global Management for potential bankruptcy assistance.

Though any bankruptcy outcome would likely result in some store closures, Forever 21 is one of Simon and Brookfield's largest remaining tenants after the double-whammy of Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree's liquidations earlier this year. Between the two chains, Simon and Brookfield lost tenants at more than 1,800 stores, Bloomberg reports.