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Sycamore says tender offer for Talbots is completed

Posted by dinouye  August 4, 2012 05:27 PM

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New York private equity firm Sycamore Partners said it is about to complete its merger with Talbots Inc., the struggling retailer that specializes in apparel and accessories designed for middle-age career women.

Sycamore made its latest offer to buy Hingham-based Talbots about six weeks ago, in a deal valued at roughly $193 million. Under the proposed transaction, Sycamore would buy Talbots for $2.75 a share and take on about $176 million in debt.

In a press release Friday, Sycamore announced the successful completion of its tender offer for Talbots and added that the merger’s completion is imminent. After the merger, Talbots’ common stock will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Friday’s announcement follows months of back-and-forth between Sycamore and Talbots. At one point, Sycamore scuttled an offer. The drama began in December when Sycamore offered to buy Talbots for $3 a share. Talbots rejected that bid, saying it significantly undervalued the company. In early May, Sycamore proposed to buy Talbots for $3.05 a share, or about $215 million. A short time later, Sycamore lowered its offer. Coming off a rocky week during which its stock price plunged, Talbots agreed to the lower price.

Talbots got into trouble by attempting to woo younger women. But apparel that sought to be more youthful alienated the chain’s core customer base of middle-age women.

At the end of its second quarter, Talbots operated 516 stores in 46 states and Canada.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.

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