Apollo in $3.1bn accessories deal

The New York-based buyout firm has made another retail investment with its sixth fund with the purchase of Claire’s Stores.

The US buyout firm Apollo Management has agreed to buy international costume jewelry and accessories retailer Claire’s Stores for $3.1 billion (€2.3 billion). Shareholders will receive $33 in cash per share.

Claire’s products are aimed at “fashion-aware tweens, teens and young adult females,” the company said in a statement. The company has about 3,000 stores in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Its subsidiary Claire’s Nippon has nearly 200 stores in Japan.

The company also operates in the Middle East and Turkey with licensing and merchandising agreements with Middle Eastern retailer Al Shaya Company. It has eight stores in South Africa that operate under similar agreements with local specialty distributor and retailer The House of Busby.

Rowland Schaefer founded Claire’s predecessor, wig and accessories maker Fashion Tress, in 1961. The company’s name was changed to Claire’s in 1983. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CLE.

Schaefer’s daughters Bonnie and Marla are the co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers of Claire’s. The company is based in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

This investment comes from Apollo’s sixth fund, Apollo Investment Fund VI, which closed at $12 billion in January 2006. The firm made another retail investment last month when it bought Smart & Final, a Los Angeles-based operator of non-membership warehouse food stores. That deal was worth about $813 million.