On the heels of its acquisition by Sycamore Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, Stuart Weitzman is preparing to launch another sale process and has tapped investment banks Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup to assist with the effort, people familiar with the matter said (per TFL sources, this is more than just a rumor). The New York-based retailer could fetch a price well below $1 billion, two of the people said this week. Others said the ultimate sale price could be around $800 million. Sycamore acquired the brand as part of its $2.2 billion purchase of Jones Group Inc earlier this year.
The planned divestiture of Stuart Weitzman comes as Sycamore Partners is seeking to bulk up elsewhere and eyeing a few takeover targets. The buyout firm has held talks to buy regional discount store operator Fred's Inc (FRED.O), Reuters reported last month. Memphis-based Fred's has a market capitalization of around $590 million. A takeover of Fred's would represent a new strategy for Sycamore, which until now has invested solely in apparel and footwear companies, including Aeropostale Inc, Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic, Jones New York and Talbots. Sycamore is also attempting to take over women's apparel retailer Express.