Jones Group, the women's clothing wholesaler and retailer started by Philadelphia investor Sidney Kimmel in the late 1960s, has agreed to be bought by Sycamore Partners, a New York buyout firm, for $15 per share in cash.
The sale values Jones stock at $1.2 billion. Sycamore will also take on Jones' $1 billion in debt.
The company was run from offices in New York and warehouses in Bristol, Bucks County. Jones employs about 6,000 people. In a note from Sycamore Thursday night, Jones workers were told there were no plans to close facilities or cut jobs.
Kimmel, who founded the company 45 years ago, owns more than three million shares, or nearly 3% of the total, and plans to vote in favor of the deal, which Sycamore hopes to close by summer.
The stock traded at $18 as recently as August, as activist investors pushed for a sale and the company hired investment bankers. Shares topped $47 back in 2001.
Sycamore bought the rival Boston-based Talbots chain last year and Hot Topic stores this year.
Jones operates Anne Klein, Jones New York, Nine West, Stuart Weitzman, Easy Spirit and Bandolino stores, among others. The chain told investors back-to-school and fall sales were slow this year. The company also sells clothing lines for designers such as Rachel Roy, Robert Rodriguez, and Kurt Geiger, along with brands such as Robbi + Nicki, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Pappagallo, among others.
Jones' major owners include Dimensional, Bank of New York Mellon, BlackRock, and other investment groups.