Here’s one acquisition in which a private equity firm is the seller, not the buyer: Multititle mailer Crosstown Traders is being sold to apparel retailer Charming Shoppes.
JPMorgan Partners, the private equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., will receive approximately $218 million in cash for Crosstown Traders, whose sales last year were roughly $460 million. In addition, Charming Shoppes will assume Crosstown Traders’ debt. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second fiscal quarter.
Like Charming Shoppes, Crosstown Traders specializes in women’s apparel. Its 11 titles include Brownstone Studio, Lew Magram, Old Pueblo Traders, and Coward Shoe. The $2.3 billion Charming Shoppes operates four retail chains: Fashion Bug, Fashion Bug Plus, Catherines Plus Sizes, and Lane Bryant.
The Lane Bryant brand, in fact, is where the true synergies of the deal may lie. Redcats USA currently owns the Lane Bryant catalog, but the catalog trademark reverts back to Charming Shoppes in October 2007, the company says. At that time Charming Shoppes plans to launch its own Lane Bryant catalog. As Charming Shoppes chairman/CEO/president Dorrit Bern said in a statement, “this is a key step in our preparation for the launch of our own catalog.”
Crosstown Traders will continue to operate as a separate entity. It will remain basedin Tucson, AZ; Charming Shoppes is based in Bensalem, PA. Steven Lightman will continue as president of Crosstown Traders.
Banc of America Securities acted as exclusive financial adviser to Charming Shoppes in this transaction. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and GLC Securities Corp., an affiliate of Gruppo, Levey & Co., advised Crosstown Traders.