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Fast Retailing places bid for Barneys

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Japan’s apparel major Fast Retailing has made a $900 million (£448 million) takeover bid for US department store chain Barneys New York. The offer comes two weeks after Barneys’ owner Jones Apparel agreed to sell the business to Dubai private equity group Istithmar for $825 million.

Jones said that Fast Retailing’s offer was subject to a closer examination of its financial condition. It said that in the meantime, “the agreement with Istithmar had not been terminated and remains in full force.”

Under the terms of its existing deal, Jones Apparel can entertain bids for Barneys from third parties until July 22. Jones Apparel will pay a $20.6 million fee to Istithmar if it terminates the agreement, or $22.7 million if it does so after July 22.

Barneys New York has a number of stores across the United States, and three franchisee-operated outlets in Tokyo. Fast Retailing operates the Uniqlo chain of stores in Japan. For the fiscal year that ended August 2006, the company earned $586 million (70.3 billion yen) in net consolidated profit.

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