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Japan's Fast Retailing Interested in J.Crew

Japan's Fast Retailing Co. Ltd, parent of apparel chain Uniqlo, has expressed interest in buying J.Crew Group Inc. from its private equity owners, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.
Mannequins are displayed at Fast Retailing's flagship Uniqlo store in Tokyo
Japan's Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing store chain, is reportedly interested in buying American clothing retailer J.Crew. Mannequins are displayed at the new flagship Uniqlo store at Tokyo's Ginza district in this March 2012 file photo. ISSEI KATO / Reuters
J.Crew, which was taken private by TPG Capital LP and Leonard Green & Partners LP for $2.8 billion in 2011, believes it should fetch at least $5 billion in any sale, the person added, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.
It was not yet clear whether the parties have held any serious discussions about a deal. There is takeover interest from other companies as well, the person added.
TPG and Leonard Green are in the early stage of exploring exit options for J.Crew, including an initial public offering, and have yet to make a decision on timing and avenue of its potential exit, other people familiar with the matter said.
Representatives for J.Crew did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Leonard Green and TPG declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday that J.Crew is in talks to sell itself to Fast Retailing for as much as $5 billion, citing a person familiar with the matter. The Japanese retailer approached J.Crew's management this week about potentially buying the company, the report added.
Run by well-known executive Mickey Drexler, J.Crew is a multi-channel retailer of women's, men's and children's apparel, shoes and accessories. As of February, the company operates 330 retail stores, including 257 J.Crew retail stores, eight crewcuts stores and 65 Madewell stores, according to its website.
In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, J.Crew's revenues increased 9 percent to more than $2.4 billion.

-Reuters