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J. Crew ‘Go-Shop’ Passes Without Counteroffer

Delaware court waiting until after special meeting to weigh in on shareholder dispute.

After 85 days, overtures to 59 companies and four semiserious suitors, J. Crew Group Inc. is moving forward with its $3 billion deal to be taken private by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners.

The firm said Thursday its “go-shop” period had passed without any alternative offers. Shareholders will vote on the deal March 1.

J. Crew solicited 59 potentially interested parties, and four ultimately signed confidentiality agreements and were granted access to additional details on the company. One of the parties with a confidentiality agreement had a meeting with the management, including chairman and chief executive officer Millard “Mickey” Drexler.

Edward S. Lampert’s Sears Holdings Corp. and Urban Outfitters Inc. were reported to be among those taking a closer look at the retailer. Lampert might have simply moved on to bigger fish — this week he unveiled a 5.8 percent stake in Gap. Inc.

J. Crew’s go-shop period was initially scheduled to expire Jan. 15, but was extended a month as part of a legal settlement with shareholders who were unhappy with how the takeover came together. One of the parties that signed a confidentiality agreement did so after the deadline for competing offers was extended.

Shareholders have threatened to sue the retailer, claiming it violated the settlement by indicating it had received no competing offers.

J. Crew said a conference between the two sides was held in Delaware Chancery Court Friday and that the court would wait until after shareholders vote on the deal to entertain any action.

Shares of J. Crew closed up 0.3 percent at $43.61 Thursday, just above the $43.50 acquisition price.

The Wall Street action for the day was at the dollar stores. Investor Nelson Peltz fired the starting gun late Wednesday by offering to buy Family Dollar Stores Inc. for $55 to $60 a share — valuing the company at about $7 billion.

Family Dollar shares shot up 21.1 percent to $53.25 and Dollar General Corp. went along for the ride, gaining 10.1 percent to $29.64.

The S&P Retail Index rose 0.5 percent, or 2.79 points, to 526.22.