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Changing Hands


It’s been a busy summer for the nation’s retail chains in terms of acquisitions. Here’s an update on the latest transactions:

Limited Brands Inc. took a major step in its transformation to a lingerie- and beauty products-focused retailer by selling a 75% stake in its core Limited Store division to Sun Capital Partners. Sun Capital will leave the chain’s current management team in place.

In related news, Limited Brands closed on an agreement to sell a 75% stake in its other apparel brand, Express, to Golden Gate Capital for $602 million in cash. The firm named Michael Weiss as CEO of Express. Weiss led the chain from its start in 1980 until his retirement, in 2004.

The Container Store sold the majority of its stock to Leonard Green & Partners, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm. The Dallas-based retailer stressed that the company’s unique culture would remain in place under its new ownership.

After being put on the selling block by owner Jones Apparel Group, Barneys New York found itself being pursued by two overseas firms. In June, Jones entered into an agreement to sell Barneys to Istithmar, a Dubai-based private-equity company, for $825 million in cash. Shortly afterward, Jones received an $896 million unsolicited bid from Tokyo-based Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo casual-clothing chain. At presstime, Jones was providing financial information to Fast Retailing.

Guitar Center accepted a $1.9 billion cash buyout offer from affiliates of Bain Capital Partners, Boston. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The Home Depot agreed to sell its supply division, HD Supply, to three private-equity firms—Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice—in a roughly $10 billion deal.

Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts Co. (KKR) completed its $7.3 billion acquisition of Dollar General Corp.

Federal antitrust regulators approved Payless ShoeSource’s proposed $800 million purchase of children’s footwear maker Stride Rite Corp. Payless will change its name to Collective Branding Inc., and will operate as a holding company that will run the Payless and Stride Rite chains separately.

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