J. Crew CEO Drexler Says He Would Do TPG Takeover Same Way Again

J. Crew Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Millard Drexler said he wouldn’t change any of his behavior leading up to the sale of the retailer last month, after his conduct prompted investor lawsuits and criticism.

“I would do it the same way,” Drexler said in an interview for “InBusiness with Margaret Brennan,” which will air today. “I sleep well at night.”

J. Crew shareholders on March 1 voted in favor of a takeover by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP, which offered $43.50 a share in November, valuing New York-based J. Crew at about $3 billion. The deal came after some investors sued Drexler, 66, accusing him of diluting the offer price by refusing to work with anyone but Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG, blocking other suitors from sweeping in with a better price.

J. Crew, which more than doubled its revenue since Drexler came from Gap Inc. (GPS) in 2003, now plans to expand outside the U.S. for the first time to boost sales. The chain, which operates more than 300 locations in the U.S., will open its first international store this summer in Canada.

“We’re looking at international, frankly, because the demand is there,” Drexler said. “We are an American brand, but I find most brands today are actually worldwide.”

The CEO also said the retailer is expanding its men’s business because it is “exceeding our plans.” J. Crew has about six men’s stores, he said.

With the sale, J. Crew is becoming a private company that will make running the retailer easier, Drexler said. Before the deal, the retailer reduced its profit forecast at least twice in 2010, and Drexler had to explain the reasons for that to analysts and investors. With a private company, now he can focus on the long-term goals, he said.

Apple Succession Plan

Drexler, who’s been on the Apple Inc. (AAPL) board for 12 years, said the iPad maker has a succession plan for Steve Jobs and declined to provide any details. Apple shareholders voted down a proposal to force the company to reveal how it will replace Jobs, the company said on Feb. 24. Jobs took his third leave of absence in January after he disclosed in 2004 he was battling pancreatic cancer.

Drexler, 66, signed another employment contract with J. Crew that will keep him with the company until age 70, and he said he’s working on a succession plan of his own. Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s president and creative director, could be a potential successor.

“How could you say no, right,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cecile Vannucci in New York at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net.

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