Jones Apparel Group Inc. said on Thursday it received an unsolicited bid from Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. to acquire Barneys New York Inc. for $900 million, which tops Jones' existing pact to sell the upscale clothing chain for $825 million.
Jones said it will provide financial information and enter negotiations with Fast. Its agreement to sell Barneys to Dubai-owned private equity firm Istithmar remains in effect. Jones would have to pay Istithmar a $20.6 million breakup fee if it terminated their agreement, which was announced last month, or $22.7 million if it terminated the deal after July 22.
Jones, which owns clothing, shoes and accessories brands such as Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt and Jones New York, put itself up for sale last year but failed to find a buyer. It agreed to sell Barneys in June after several months of negotiations.
Under the agreement with Istithmar, Jones Apparel can weigh other offers made for Barneys by July 22, and it can explore bids for the whole company through August 11. Istithmar, the private equity arm of the Dubai government, was not immediately available for comment.
Jones agreed to buy Barneys in 2004 for $400 million, marking a departure into luxury retailing for a company which supplies clothes and shoes that fill the racks of mall department stores and discounters.
The Barneys buy allowed Jones Apparel to benefit from the faster-growing luxury market and lessened its dependence on the selling its wholesale lines to department stores, analysts said.