By  on August 18, 2005

NEW YORK — J. Crew Group, speeding up its timetable for going public, filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday for an initial public offering of as much as $200 million in common stock.

The timing of the IPO may have been accelerated because of the successful turnaround of the retailer orchestrated by Mickey Drexler, chairman and chief executive officer, and president Jeff Pfeifle. The company has been on a roll for more than a year. In addition, many investors have money to burn and are looking for hot properties.

Analysts speculated that J. Crew, which is controlled by the private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, could go public within 60 to 90 days, depending partly on the complexity of the registration statement and J. Crew's financials. Specifics about the stock price were not disclosed.

The announcement confirmed published reports that an IPO was in the works, though the expectation was for it to happen next spring.

From 2003 to 2004, the company increased revenues to $804 million from $690 million and went from an operating loss of $31 million to an operating profit of almost $38 million. For the 13 weeks ended May 1, revenues increased to $211 million from $146 million compared with the same period a year ago.

However, interest expenses related to debt have kept net income down. There is $682 million in debt and preferred stock. There was a net income loss of more than $100 million last year, though in the first quarter of this year the company turned a net profit of $4.9 million against a net income loss of almost $24 million in the year-ago period.

"There is still a long way to go," to pump up the balance sheet, said a financial expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

J. Crew said that it would use the proceeds of the offering, along with the cash from a sale of $73.5 million of its common stock to Texas Pacific Group, and borrowings under an anticipated term loan to redeem outstanding cumulative preferred stock and some debt and to pay related costs.

"This could be an extremely attractive stock, if it's priced right," said Gilbert Harrison, chairman of Financo Inc. "Mickey Drexler has done a phenomenal job in terms of repositioning the brand and bringing J. Crew back to its roots."

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