Report: Centerbridge Makes Play for Zales

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Centerbridge Partners has jumped into the fray to buy the struggling North American jewelry chain Zale Corp (ZLC.N), the New York Post said, citing sources.On Wednesday, Zale’s shares jumped after a report said that the jewelry store operator was in talks with three finalists to take a stake in the retailer. 

Centerbridge has joined a growing list of private equity firms that have shown interest in buying out the jewelry retailer, according to the paper.

Centerbridge’s rivals Sun Capital and Apollo Management appear to have dropped out of the bidding process after making “low-ball” offers, the person told the paper.

Zale is the largest North American jewelry store operator by store count.

The retailer, which is struggling with sharp sales declines, hired turnaround firm Peter J. Solomon Co to help it find investors.

Zale and Centerbridge Partners could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)