Fast Retailing pulls out of talks to buy J.Crew — Reuters

03192014clothing

NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) – Japan’s Fast Retailing Co Ltd, parent of apparel chain Uniqlo, is no longer in talks to buy U.S. clothing retailer J.Crew Group Inc from its private equity owners, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The talks ended in recent weeks, the people said, adding that an initial public offering for J.Crew is still on the table.

It is possible that the talks with Fast Retailing may be revived, one of the people said.

J.Crew, which was taken private by TPG Capital LP and Leonard Green & Partners LP for $2.8 billion in 2011, hoped to fetch at least $5 billion in a sale, Reuters and others previously reported.

J.Crew and Fast Retailing could not be reached for comment. TPG and Leonard Green declined to comment.

Run by well-known executive Mickey Drexler, J.Crew is a multi-channel retailer of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, shoes and accessories. As of February, the company operated 330 retail stores, including 257 J.Crew retail stores, eight crewcuts stores and 65 Madewell stores, according to its website.

In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, J.Crew’s revenues increased 9 percent to more than $2.4 billion while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to as much as $371 million from $360 million in the prior year.

Fast Retailing also owns U.S. apparel brands Theory and J Brand. The company started trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange in early March.  Chief Executive Tadashi Yanai has set a lofty goal of making his company the world’s top apparel retailer by 2020 by quintupling revenue to 5 trillion yen ($49 billion), overtaking Zara’s Inditex, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Gap Inc.

While Uniqlo’s global expansion has been driven primarily by Asia so far, it plans to accelerate a push into the United States, adding 20-30 shops a year to reach 100 outlets in several years.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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