Holiday Shopping Turns to M&A, J. Crew Near Buyout Deal

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The holiday shopping season will not just be for clothes and toys this year. Private equity firms are likely to buy retailer J. Crew Group (JCG) for $43.50 a share or about $2.8 billion, according to a number of media sources. The negotiations were first covered in the New York Times.

TPG Capital, which owned a piece of the retailer before, would take a 75% stake. Buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners would own 25%. The group will work with the company's CEO Michael Drexler to close a deal.

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Not surprisingly, one of the largest issues with the transaction is price. Shares traded at $37.65 at the close on Nov. 22. However, the stock was as high as $50.96 this last April. The $43.50 buyout would only be 15% above the current stock price. Investors might balk at such a modest premium.

J. Crew has consistently beat Wall Street estimates over the last four quarters. First Call analyst consensus ratings show the median call on the stock is a "buy."
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