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Jones Apparel Nears Deal to Sell Barneys

Jones Apparel Group is nearing a deal to sell its luxury Barneys New York department store chain to a private equity firm owned by the Dubai government, according to reports by two news organizations on Wednesday.

The New York Post said the deal was worth $950 million. The Wall Street Journal put the figure as high as $850 million.

The talks with private-equity firm Istithmar, one of the big investment firms in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, have reached the final stages, the Post and Journal said, citing sources. A potential deal was first reported by apparel trade publication Women's Wear Daily in April.

The $950 million deal, according to the Post, would be more than double what Jones Apparel paid for Barneys three years ago. The Journal priced the deal between $800 million and $850 million, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Jones Apparel and Istithmar could not be reached for comment.

The Barneys deal could be announced as soon as this week, or early next week, the Post said.

Istithmar, which has a global real estate portfolio valued at $7 billion to $8 billion, including prime properties in London and New York, has been aggressively buying up U.S. property and other assets over the past year. The investment firm owns off-price apparel retailer Loehmann's Holdings Inc., based in New York, and last December bought a major stake in the Mandarin Oriental New York hotel.

The firm has been recently increasing its reach in Asia, particularly China. The company is looking to invest in hotels and infrastructure projects in India, and is already an investor in Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet.

Istithmar bought 2.7% of Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered, based in London, in October.