Belk purchased in $3 billion deal

Published 11:39 am Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sycamore Partners will now be the new owners of Belk Inc., announcing Monday they had agreed to purchase the popular retailer for approximately $3 billion.

Belk vice president of communications and community relations Jessica Graham said nothing is going to change. There will be no store closings or layoffs and the products the stores offer will remain the same.

“We will continue to be Belk. Our brand will continue to be modern southern style,” Graham said. “We’re not announcing any layoffs or store closings as a part of the announcement or transaction. I think the impact to consumers will be very transparent and very seamless.”

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The spirit, style and brand will continue on in the same fashion as if nothing has changed.

“The buying teams, who work on our assortments, now to make sure that they reflect our customers, will stay in place,” Graham said.

Belk said certain shareholders representing the bulk of its shares have agreed to vote in favor of the deal. The company operates nearly 300 stores in 16 Southern states, including one that serves as an anchor at Vicksburg Mall.

The deal has been unanimously approved by Belk’s board, but remains subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. It’s expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar 2015.

It was also announced that Belk stockholders would receive $68 in cash for every share they own of Belk common stock.

Vicksburg Belk store manager Ricky Smith said he could not comment on the merger agreement. Vicksburg Mall manager Mike Carlisle could not be reached for comment.

Tim Belk will remain the company’s CEO and their headquarters will also stay in Charlotte, N.C.

“We are delighted to have found a financial partner that sees what we see in Belk: a 127-year-old brand that remains relevant today with exceptional customer loyalty in small, medium and large cities throughout the South,” Belk said in a news release. “We plan to grow Belk by executing our current strategic initiatives and undertaking new growth initiatives together with Sycamore. This transaction is an across-the-board win for our stakeholders.”

Sycamore Partners is a New York-based private equity firm and will acquire 100 percent of Belk. Their investment portfolio includes stores such as Hot Topic, Coldwater Creek, Talbots, Torrid and Aeropostale among others.

“We have great respect for Belk’s management team and associates, its deeply rooted brand, its footprint of stores and its growing online presence,” Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners said in the news release. “Belk is exactly the kind of investment we look for: an outstanding brand with a proven success formula and the potential for further growth.”

Growth has been a priority of Belk’s for some time, and Graham looks for that to continue after the merger.

“We’re going to continue to be the Belk our customers love,” Graham said. “There just isn’t going to be a lot of local change right now.”