J. Crew Go-Shop Draws Suitors Sears, Urban Outfitters and PE

Go shops don’t usually produce a higher offer but don’t tell that to J. Crew.

Today, Sears Holding and Urban Outfitters are studying J. Crew’s books and are weighing making bids, Bloomberg News is reporting. Two PE firms are apparently also interested, the story says.

However, no one has made an offer for the preppy retailer. It’s also not clear which buyout shops are interested in J. Crew.

In November, J. Crew agreed to be sold to TPG and Leonard Green for about $3 billion. J. Crew must pay a $27 million breakup fee to TPG and Leonard Green if it accepts a higher offer. The retailer has until Jan. 15 to secure an increased bid.

Shares of J. Crew rose 83 cents, or 1.93%, to $43.90 in trading Wednesday. The stock of Urban Outfitters shed 16 cents to $35.72, while Sears added 50 cents to $71.96.

Go shops–which allow a target firm to shop around for a better deal–don’t usually result in a sweeter offer. However, there have been some exceptions. One of the most notable came in 2009 when CVC Capital Partners, a U.K. buyout shop, had a $4.2 billion deal to buy iShares, the ETF unit owned by Barclays. However, Barclays had a go-shop and decided to expand the deal and go with a strategic. The U.K. bank eventually sold Barclays Global Investors, which owned iShares, to BlackRock for a mammoth $13.5 billion.

Barclays paid a $175 million breakup fee to CVC for scuttling its deal.