Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

c.2013 New York Times News Service

The Jones Group said Thursday that it had accepted a buyout offer of $15 per share from private equity firm Sycamore Partners, bringing the long rumored deal to fruition.

The deal gives Jones, which owns a collection of midmarket fashion brands, an equity value of $1.2 billion. Sycamore will also take on $1 billion in debt, bringing the deal’s enterprise value to $2.2 billion. The offer of $15 a share amounts to a 19 percent premium over the volume weighted average of the company’s stock price in the month before the deal was first rumored, in April.

Jones, which owns brands including Nine West, Anne Klein and Easy Spirit, has struggled in recent quarters as sales slumped and put itself up for sale this summer after the activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group took a 2 percent stake in the company.

“This business, which I founded nearly 45 years ago, has expanded into a global portfolio of powerful brands,” Sidney Kimmel, Jones’ chairman, said in a statement. “I am proud of our heritage and believe the Jones Group’s brands will thrive through our partnership with Sycamore.”

The sale comes after Jones’ shares had fallen from a high of nearly $18 this year and an all-time high of more than $40 a share more than a decade ago. On Thursday, shares in the company fell 2 percent as some investors worried a deal might not get done.

The deal must still be approved by shareholders, but the company and Sycamore expect to close in the second quarter of next year.