While there were many mergers and acquisitions in 2014, a few managed to hit megadeal territory.
This story first appeared in the December 19, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At least four transactions completed so far topped the $1 billion mark, with Sycamore Partners leading the charge with its $2.2 billion acquisition of The Jones Group, formerly known as Jones Apparel Group. Following a protracted period in which Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. and The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. each jockeyed for position as they switched places in their back-and-forth engagement over who would buy whom, the latter emerged the victor in its $1.8 billion purchase of its rival. And Zale Corp. spent $1.4 billion to acquire Signet Jewelers Ltd., while Nestlé completed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Dermatology Assets.
Revealed this year was Japanese e-tail giant Rakuten Inc.’s planned $1 billion purchase of Ebates Inc. An even bigger deal not set to close until some time in the first quarter of 2015, is Walgreen Co.’s $5.29 billion acquisition of the 55 percent stake in Alliance Boots GmbH that it didn’t yet own. It acquired its 45 percent stake in Boots in June 2012.
With the year still not over, there’s an outside chance that a deal in the Dollar wars could get approved. Family Dollar Stores Inc. has delayed a shareholder vote until Tuesday on its planned $8.5 billion acquisition by Dollar Tree Inc. as it continues to fend off a hostile $9.1 billion offer from Dollar General Corp. The delay is to give the Federal Trade Commission time to review antitrust issues connected with the deal. Dollar Tree already has said it would close whatever number of stores the FTC requires. A bone of contention is the number of stores Dollar General would have to close if its offer were to be accepted.
Other sizable transactions include: Trade show and event services firm UBM’s $972 million purchase of its competitor across the pond, Advanstar Communications; L’Oréal’s $840 million acquisition of Chinese facial-mask manufacturer Magic Holdings International Ltd.; Nanjing Cenbest’s $804 million purchase of House of Fraser; Carrefour SA’s $747 million deal for discount retailer Dia France; Hanesbrands Inc.’s $550 million transaction for DBApparel, and French optical firm Essilor’s $402 million deal for online optical firm Coastal.com.