December 20, 2011, 10:41 AM

Talbots rejects an offer to sell the company

But in the wake of declining sales Talbots will keep looking at its options.

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It’s been a tough year for specialty apparel retailer The Talbots Inc., but the company isn’t for sale—at least for now.

This morning, Talbots, No.112 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, rejected as too low an offer from investment banking firm Sycamore Partners to acquire all outstanding shares of Talbots for $3 per share in a deal valued at around $205 million.

Sycamore, which already owns a 10% stake in Talbots, extended the offer Dec. 6. “Talbots informed Sycamore Partners that it had considered and evaluated the terms of the proposed transaction and had concluded that the proposal was inadequate and substantially undervalues the company,” Talbots says.

At the same time the specialty women’s apparel retailer says it will continue to evaluate other strategic options, including a possible sale. “The board of directors of the company has resolved to explore a full range of strategic alternatives to maximize value for Talbots stockholders,” the company says.

Even as the company looks over its plans for the long term, Talbots also is wrestling with several current obstacles, including trying to reverse declining sales and find a successor to CEO Trudy Sullivan, who will retire once a successor is named.

For the first three quarters ended Oct. 29, Talbots reported:

  • The Internet accounted for 77.2% of year-to-date direct sales compared with 70% in the prior year. Based on those metrics Internet Retailer calculates that web sales declined year over year 0.5% to $118.3 million from $118.9 million.
  • Total revenue declined 7.5% to $851.9 million from $920.5 million in the first three quarters of 2010.
  • Direct marketing sales declined year over year 9.8% to $153.3 million from $169.9 million.
  • Net loss was $38.6 million compared with net income of $13 million in the first three quarters of 2010.


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