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Liz Claiborne to buy out J Jill's outstanding shares

Nov '05
Latest fashions provider Liz Claiborne Inc announced that it has made a written offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Women's specialty apparel retailer J Jill Group Inc for $18.00 per share in cash, representing a premium in excess of 40 percent to J. Jill's closing share price on November 17 of $12.79.

Having initiated acquisition discussions with J. Jill over two years ago, Liz Claiborne offered in a letter of March 18, 2005 to J. Jill Chief Executive Officer Gordon Cooke to acquire J. Jill at a premium of over 30 percent at the time.

Cooke flatly rejected the offer even though Liz Claiborne had indicated a willingness to consider a higher price if J. Jill could provide information to justify it. On November 17, Liz Claiborne sent a letter to the J. Jill Board of Directors offering to acquire J. Jill for $18.00 per share in cash.

"Company believe this premium offer represents a compelling opportunity to create value for both J. Jill and Liz Claiborne shareholders," said Paul R. Charron, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Liz Claiborne. "Beyond providing J. Jill shareholders immediate liquidity at a significant premium, this strategic combination would enable us to rejuvenate J. Jill's well-regarded but underperforming brand.”

“As part of the larger Liz Claiborne organization, J. Jill would benefit significantly from their product and merchandising expertise, lower sourcing and logistics costs, and increased marketing and advertising support. There would also be enhanced opportunities for J. Jill employees as part of a larger and stronger company. They call on J. Jill's Board to sit down with us immediately to negotiate a mutually beneficial transaction."

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