December 20, 2013, 2:05 PM

Retailer Jones Group goes from public to private

Jones, owner of Nine West, has been acquired by New York investment banking and private equity firm Sycamore Partners in a deal valued at $2.20 billion.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Lead Photo

The Jones Group Inc., which owns and operates multiple apparel and accessories brands and e-commerce sites such as NineWest.com, is under new ownership.

Jones, No. 188 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide has been acquired by New York investment banking and private equity firm Sycamore Partners in a deal valued at $2.20 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sycamore Partners will acquire all outstanding shares of Jones for about $1.20 billion and assume another $1 billion in debt. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.

“Sycamore Partners is an experienced investor in the retail sector and, as a private company Jones will have the flexibility to help our brands reach their true potential,” says Jones CEO Wesley Card. “We look forward to continuing to deliver exceptional products that resonate with our customers."

The sale of Jones, a designer, marketer, wholesaler and online retailer of over 35 brands with product expertise in apparel, footwear, jeans, jewelry and handbags, has been approved by the company’s board of directors. Sycamore Partners has acquired several apparel retailers over time. In June, it acquired Hot Topic Inc., a trendy shopping mall and web-based retailer of teenager apparel and accessories, for $600 million. The acquisition of Hot Topic marked the fourth retail investment for Sycamore Partners, including the firm’s 2012 acquisition of women’s specialty retailer Talbots Inc.

With the acquisition of Jones, Sycamore now will own multiple well-known women’s apparel and accessories brands. In addition to Nine West, Jones also has other brands such as Jones New York, Anne Klein, Kurt Geiger, Rachel Roy, Robert Rodriguez, Robbi & Nikki, Stuart Weitzman, Brian Atwood, Boutique 9, Easy Spirit, Carvela, Gloria Vanderbilt and others. “The Jones Group has entrusted Sycamore Partners as the steward of this portfolio of iconic brands,” says Sycamore managing partner Stefan Kaluzny.

Despite operating highly recognizable brands, e-commerce sales declined 1.4% for Jones in 2012 to $110.4 million from $112 million in 2011. The company doesn’t break out quarterly web sales but through the nine months ended Oct. 30, total sales increased 1.8% to $2.84 billion from $2.79 billion. Net income grew year over year 8.7% to $27.4 million from $25.2 million.

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