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Jones-Sycamore Deal Said Near Closing

After months of meeting with strategic and financial suitors, The Jones Group Inc. is just about ready for the altar.

After months of meeting with strategic and financial suitors, The Jones Group Inc. is just about ready for the altar.

This story first appeared in the December 13, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company’s talks with Sycamore Partners appear to be wrapping up and sources said a deal could come next week.

The process, being handled by Citi, has been a long and winding one for Jones and things could still change. One source said the deal was initially expected to wrap up on Monday, but was pushed back a week.

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Sycamore was originally looking to buy the apparel side of Jones, while KKR & Co. was interested in acquiring the footwear business. But KKR dropped out and Sycamore shifted its interest to footwear and G-III Apparel Group zeroed in on the apparel business.

WWD reported in November that G-III dropped out, leaving the field to Sycamore.

WSJ.com reported Thursday that the deal would value Jones at $1.2 billion, or $15 a share. The stock rose 4.7 percent to $14.37 on Thursday with 3.6 million shares trading hands — more than three times the daily average.

It’s a big fish for Sycamore to reel in. Jones logged sales of $3.75 billion last year from about 35 brands.

Led by Stefan L. Kaluzny, Sycamore owns The Talbots Inc., Hot Topic Inc. and MGF Sourcing. Should a deal close, the company is expected to turn around and sell or license out parts of the business and perhaps to some familiar names.

G-III is said to still be interested in the Jones New York brand and Sherson Group, a longtime licensee of Jones’ Nine West footwear brand, previously hired investment bank Avalon Net Worth to try to buy the moderate footwear portfolio.