By  on June 11, 2007

From the bidding for Barneys by two competing Middle Eastern firms to the sale of the Stride Rite Corp. to Payless ShoeSource Inc., mergers and acquisitions activity over the past month has kept up a heady pace.

Earlier this month, the Qatar Investment Authority and Istithmar from Dubai were said to be in competitive bids for Jones Apparel Group's Barneys New York business. Although the companies either could not be reach for comment or declined comment on the possible bidding, WWD learned from industry sources that the pricetag being discussed was between $1 billion and $1.2 billion. Several banking sources said a bidding war between the two investment firms could drive the price as high as $1.4 billion. There are 34 stores in the Barneys chain.

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