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Sears, Urban Outfitters Reportedly Considering Bids on J.Crew

>> In late November, J.Crew announced it was going private with the help of private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital. But before the deal can be finalized, J. Crew has to hold a go-shop period, which allows competing bids to be made for the company, through Jan. 15.

Now, Bloomberg is reporting that both Sears and Urban Outfitters are studying J.Crew books and weighing rival bids. However, neither company has indicated that it will actually counter TPG and Leonard Green's offer, and it's worth noting that sometimes rival companies who have no intention of bidding use the go-shop period to learn more about their competitor. Most go-shop periods don't result in a rival bid.

San Francisco-based analyst Christine Chen notes that buying J.Crew "would be great for Sears, but horrible for J. Crew. J. Crew is positioned as aspirational, and Sears is not. It would have a negative impact on the J. Crew brand.” An Urban Outfitters buy makes less sense because it has overlapping customers with J.Crew, and J.Crew's sales are growing more slowly.

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