May 25, 2012, 11:07 AM

Sycamore calls off its deal to acquire Talbot’s

The retailer also reported that first quarter direct market sales declined 6%.

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After months of negotiations, one if its biggest investors has called off plans to acquire women’s apparel chain retailer The Talbot’s Inc.

In December, Sycamore Partners Management LLC entered into confidential talks about possibly acquiring Talbots, No. 127 in 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500.

Sycamore, an investment banking firm, subsequently made an offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Talbots stock for $3 per share in a deal valued at around $205 million. Talbots rejected the offer as too low and said it would continue to pursue long-term options to prop up flagging sales. Sycamore already owns 10% of Talbots.

On May 5, Sycamore increased its offer to acquire Talbots to about $211 million and the two parties agreed to resume negotiations.

But now Sycamore has ended its merger discussions and rescinded its offer, Talbot’s says. “Sycamore Partners informed the company that it is not prepared to execute a transaction at this time,” Talbot’s says. “Talbot’s is no longer subject to exclusivity and therefore will actively explore other strategic alternatives and in the meantime will continue to be focused on executing its business plan.”

Along with disclosing the end of the negotiations, Talbot’s also reported its first quarter earnings, which include declining direct market and store sales.

 For the first quarter ended April 28:

  • Direct market sales, which include catalog and web, declined 5.8% to $57.0 million from $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2011. The retailer didn’t break out e-commerce.
  • Total sales decreased year over year 8.4% to $275.9 million from $301.3 million.
  • Comparable-store sales decreased 2.2%.
  • Net income grew about 48.9% to about $1.1 million from $739,000.


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