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Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. is now officially in play.

This story first appeared in the March 13, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


After a review of its options starting in January and skirmishing with shareholders last year, the teen retailer said Thursday it is putting itself up for sale. “The sale process will enable the company to obtain formal indications of interest from potential buyers,” Charlotte Russe said. “There can be no assurance, however, that a transaction will result.”

On Tuesday, the San Diego-based specialty chain issued a proxy statement urging investors to reject the slate of nominees proposed for its board by shareholder, and rejected suitor, KarpReilly Capital Partners LP. Russe said that if elected, the nominees, which included KarpReilly partner Allan Karp, could “delay and disrupt” the strategic evaluation of its business.

In November, KarpReilly and shareholder H.I.G. Capital Partners LLC offered to buy Russe for between $9 and $9.50 a share, or $188 million to $199 million. Russe rejected the bid, calling it an “opportunistic proposal.”

A month later, B. Riley & Co. and Plainview Capital LLC both criticized the company’s rejection of the bid, and Riley threatened a proxy fight if it wasn’t reconsidered.

Wedbush Morgan Securities retail analyst Betty Chen said a new buyout bid would most likely be lower than KarpReilly and H.I.G.’s original proposal. “Looking back, I bet they probably consider that bid a pretty good offer,” she said, explaining the economy has further weakened the retailer’s business.

On Thursday, Charlotte Russe’s shares closed at $6.57, up 8 cents or 1.2 percent.

Based on KarpReilly’s most recent push to nominate new directors, Chen said it might still be interested in acquiring the retailer.