Apollo Eyeing Zale Corp

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Apollo Management [APOLO.UL] is looking to pick up a stake in struggling U.S. jewellery retailer Zale Corp (ZLC.N), the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

On Feb. 9, Zale had hired investment bank Peter J. Solomon to help it maximise its financial flexibility.

Apollo’s investment proposal was among the few that had already been received by Zale in relation to its strategic alternatives, the paper said.

Apollo would install its own management team as part of the deal, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Zale Chief Financial Officer Matt Appel declined to comment to the paper.

Retail and jewellery industry observers have been questioning the company’s future after it posted losses in seven of the last eight quarters and suffered a 12 percent drop in same-store sales over the year-end holiday season. [ID:nN07160730]

Zale and Apollo Management could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore, editing by Will Waterman)