Chico's Said to Weigh Sale Amid New Interest From Private Equity

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Chico’s FAS Inc., the women’s apparel chain, is weighing a sale of the company after being approached by private-equity buyers including Sycamore Partners, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company is working with investment bank Peter J. Solomon to explore its options, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. A deal between Chico’s and Sycamore fell through in February after disagreements over financing, the people said.

Sycamore has made an offer and is lining up financing while talks continue with other potential bidders, one of the people said. There is no guarantee of a deal, with a decision probably weeks away, another person said.

Representatives of Chico’s, Sycamore and Peter J. Solomon declined to comment. Chico’s climbed as much as 11 percent in late trading.

Shares of the Fort Myers, Florida-based chain climbed less than 1 percent Friday to $15.12 at the close in New York, giving the company a market value of $2.1 billion. The stock dropped 17 percent since Feb. 24, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Sycamore abandoned its pursuit.

Chico’s sales have stagnated as its brand -- seen as having long catered to older professional women -- hasn’t attracted younger shoppers. The retailer’s biggest shareholder, activist investor Blue Harbour Group LP, has been working with the company to increase shareholder value since 2013, and already successfully agitated for increased buybacks.

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