Here's an end-of-the-week rumor to give the retail world something to talk about while Mother Nature (or is it Evil Step-Mother Nature?) dumps another ton of snow on us: Japan's Fast Retailing, parent company of Uniqlo, Theory, Helmut Lang, Comptoir des Cotonniers and a few others, is in talks to buy J.Crew from it's private equity owners for around $5 billion.
TPG and Leonard Green & Partners LP, who took the company private in 2010 have been said to be preparing to cash out soon with a IPO, but they have also, apparently, been entertaining talks with possible suitors for a sale of the chain. Fast Retailing may not be the only one in the running, but with a market capitalization of ¥3.7 trillion ($36.33 billion), it looks like strong contender. J.Crew fills a niche, more upscale than Uniqlo and more broadly-based than Theory, that is not occupied by any other brand in Fast Retailing's stable. The Wall Street Journal says that talks are in the early stages and may lead to nothing, or they may lead to a gigantic retail merger.
J. Crew in Talks to be Sold to Japan's Fast Retailing (Wall Street Journal)