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July 3, 2011

Who Will Win the Private Equity Cage Battle between The Bay and J.Crew

Since The Bay's renewal, the males in my family have bought all of their casual clothing there over the past year, and  I had no intention of even window shopping, yet ended up buying business suits too. I would personally say The Bay is back to being a go-to-shopping spot again. 
The Bay has achieved their relaunch thanks to private equity backing with financial depth, and the gutsy CEO, Bonnie Brooks, is probably still in the midst of the final transformation. It is with alarm that I hear the rumours that the preppy and likeable J. Crew is looking to open in Canada. 
Is there room? 
Lands End had to leave with its tail between is legs. How will J. Crew be different?
Well, first, J. Crew will also have the deep pocket, private equity backing that The Bay enjoys. Here is an article detailing the private equity story:
Now we find out that the American retail chain BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. announced Wednesday that it has agreed to be bought by private equity firms Leonard Green Partners (LGP) and CVC Capital Partners in a $2.8 billion cash deal.
Taking lead advisory roles on the deal are lawyers from Latham WatkinsSimpson Thacher, Bartlett, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr and Potter Anderson Corroon.
Under the terms of the transaction, BJ's shareholders are to receive $51.25 per share, a premium of nearly 7 percent premium over the stock's closing price on June 28, according to the BJ's statement. A proxy statement with additional information on the agreement has yet to be released to shareholders and the SEC, the companies said.
BJ's board of directors has unanimously approved the deal and has recommended it for shareholder approval. The company expects to close the acquisition in the fourth quarter.
BJ's, which operates 190 warehouse outlets in 15 states, is one of the top warehouse chains in the country and the latest in a string of retail pick-ups for LGP this year. The investment house acquired preppy clothier J.Crew, last November and added the craft-and-hobby chain Jo-Ann Stores in December.
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