The owners of the Neiman Marcus chain are near a deal to sell the luxury retailer to a group led by Ares Management and a Canadian pension plan for about $6 billion, a person briefed on the matter said on Sunday.
A deal between the Ares-led group and Neiman's primary owners, Warburg Pincus and TPG Capital, could be announced as soon as this week, this person added, cautioning that talks are ongoing and could still fall apart.
If a deal is reached, it would end nearly eight years of control by Warburg and TPG, which had been looking to exit their investment for several months. The two investment firms filed to take Neiman public this spring, but also began pursuing an outright sale that would help them end their ties to the company more quickly.
By exploring a sale or initial public offering of Neiman, the two firms became the latest buyout shops hoping to capitalize on strong markets to sell their investments. During the sales process, advisers to Warburg and TPG entertained a number of potential suitors, including Ares and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board; CVC Capital Partners; and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Warburg and TPG had considered selling Neiman, whose luxury wares include Alexander McQueen dresses and even custom jet-packs, a number of times, but held off when the financial crisis shook up the world of retail. The chain has since bounced back, reporting $4.3 billion in sales last year, compared with $3.6 billion in 2009.
A deal with Ares and the Canadian Pension Plan would mean that a second luxury retailer would be at least partly owned by a Canadian company. Saks Inc. agreed in late July to sell itself to the Hudson's Bay Company, the Toronto-based owner of Lord & Taylor and the Hudson's Bay chain in Canada, for $2.4 billion.
News of the talks with Ares and the Canadian Pension Plan was reported online earlier by The Wall Street Journal.