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Apollo to Buy Claire's Stores for $3.1 Billion in Cash

Jewelry and accessories retailer Claire's Stores agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Apollo Management for $3.1 billion.

Under terms of the agreement, Claire's shareholders will receive $33 in cash for each share of common or Class A stock they hold. The purchase price represents a 7.3% premium to the stock's Monday closing price on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bonnie and Marla Schaefer, Claire's co-chairwomen and chief executives, issued a joint statement saying the Apollo offer is "in the best interests of our shareholders."

The Schaefer family, which owns a significant percentage of Claire's equity, agreed separately to vote its shares in favor of the deal.

Claire's, which operates about 3,000 stores in the U.S. and around the world under the names Claire's and Icing by Claire's, sells low-cost costume jewelry and accessories to tweens, teens and young adults. Last December, the company hired Goldman Sachs as its financial adviser to assist in the search for buyers.

"We look forward to partnering with Claire's management team and employees to build on the many strengths of the company," said Peter Copses, a senior partner at Apollo. "We believe that the increased flexibility available to a private company will enable Claire's to capitalize on the many opportunities before it, both here and abroad."

Apollo had been the last bidder in the auction after another private equity firm, Apax Partners, walked away after failing to agree with the chain on a buyout price, according to retail trade publication Women's Wear Daily.

Last week, Claire's said it would delay the release of its fourth-quarter results to clear up an accounting issue relating to lease rights for stores in France.

The deal with Apollo is subject to regulatory review and the approval of Claire's shareholders.

Shares of Claire's gained 46 cents to $31.22 in afternoon trading on the NYSE.

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