Jones Group Inks $1.2B Go-Private Deal With Sycamore

Nine West owner Jones Group (NYSE:JNY) sealed a $1.2 billion pact this week to be acquired by private-equity firm Sycamore Partners.

The transaction comes about five months after reports swirled indicating the fashion company had hired Citigroup (NYSE:C) to explore a possible sale amid pressure from activist hedge fund Barington Capital.

Sycamore Partners, which has ample experience investing in retail companies, agreed to pay $15 per share in cash, representing a 19% premium on Jones Group’s 30-day volume weighted stock price before April 11, when media speculation about a sale first emerged. The bid represents a 6% premium on Jones Group’s Thursday close of $14.13.

“This business, which I founded nearly 45 years ago, has expanded into a global portfolio of powerful brands. I am proud of our heritage and believe The Jones Group's brands will thrive through our partnership with Sycamore,” Jones Group Chairman Sidney Kimmel said in a statement.

In addition to Nine West, Jones Group’s brands and licensing agreements include Anne Klein, Jones New York, Kurt Geiger and Rachel Roy.

Based in New York, Jones Group employs more than 6,200 people and generated $3.80 billion in revenue in 2012, but posted a loss of $56.1 million.

Including debt, the transaction’s enterprise value is $2.2 billion. The deal needs to receive shareholder and regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

"We are honored that the board of The Jones Group has entrusted Sycamore Partners as the steward of this portfolio of iconic brands,” said Stefan Kaluzny, managing director at Sycamore. “We look forward to a successful partnership with the company's talented associates as we continue to serve The Jones Group's many loyal customers."

Sycamore owns a slew of retailers, including specialty retailer Talbots and teen retailer Hot Topic, which it acquired earlier this year for $600 million.

Shares of Jones Group rose 4.83% to $14.82 Friday morning, extending their 2013 rally to 34%.

New York-based Barington wasn't immediately available for a comment on the deal.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) served as the lead financial advisor to the Jones Group, while Peter J. Solomon Company acted as an advisor to the company’s board. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC) and Guggenheim Securities advised Sycamore.