Women's wear retailer Ascena Retail Group today (2 May) said it will acquire plus-size apparel specialist Charming Shoppes for US$890m.

Ascena has agreed to make a cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of Charming Shoppes common stock at a price of $7.35 per share.

The deal means it will add Charming Shoppes' Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes brands to its portfolio. 

The board of directors of both companies have approved the terms of the transaction, which is expected to close during the second quarter of this year.

"Charming Shoppes is a superb strategic fit for Ascena," said president and CEO David Jaffe. "A key component of our growth strategy over the past several years has been to make highly selective and powerful acquisitions."

Anthony Romano, president and CEO of Charming Shoppes added: "While we are proud of our progress and accomplishments and believe our brands are now poised for growth, this business combination is extremely powerful, offers a compelling premium in recognition of our significant progress and is in the best interests of our shareholders."

BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as financial advisor and Proskauer Rose LLP as legal advisors for Ascena Retail Group. Barclays is acting as financial advisor and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP as legal advisors to Charming Shoppes.