Bensalem-based Charming Shoppes, Inc. has reached an agreement to be acquired by Ascena Retail Group, Inc. for $890 million, according to a joint statement on the company's website.

Charming Shoppes is the parent company of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes and operates 1,800 retail stores nationwide. It also operates Figi's, a direct marketing business. Ascena owns the Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice brands, which have 2,500 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada?

The statement said the agreement calls for Ascena to acquire Charming Shoppes for $890 million in cash. 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 offer is expected to commence within 10 business days and close this quarter.

Charming Shoppes was founded in 1940.

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

Michael Goldstein, board chairman of Charming Shoppes, said the deal completes a sale process that began in December.

"In addition to partnering with a buyer that can support the future growth and development of our businesses, the $7.35 per share consideration represents a premium of 25% to the closing market price of Charming Shoppes common stock on May 1, 2012," Goldstein said in the statement. "We are confident that this transaction is in the best interests of our shareholders."

Shares of Charming Shoppes ended up $1.41, or 23.9%, to $7.31 on the Nasdaq. Ascena also closed with a gain of $1.98, or 10.4%, to $21.06 on the Nasdaq.