Zale shares up on report of talks with private equity firms

NEW YORK, April 7 (Reuters) - Zale Corp's (ZLC.N) shares jumped after a report said that the jewelry store operator was in talks with three finalists to take a stake in the retailer.

Zale

Zale shares were up 53 cents, or 18.1 percent, in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Private equity firms TPG and Golden Gate Capital are two of the companies in advanced discussions with Zale, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday 7 April, citing three people with knowledge of the situation.

Zale is the largest North American jewelry store operator by store count

Bloomberg reported that Zale could sell a minority stake of between $100 million and $150 million, citing two of those people.

TPG's holdings include luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus Group Inc [NMRCUS.UL] while Golden Gate is an investor in apparel retailer Eddie Bauer and nutritional supplement marketer Herbalife.

Zale, which is struggling with sharp sales declines, said in February it expected to have identified investors by the end of May. In February, it hired turnaround firm Peter J. Solomon Co to help it find investors.

Last month, news reports said Zale was in talks with Sun Capital Partners Inc, but the private equity firm is not one of the finalists, Bloomberg reported, citing two of the people.

Zale, Sun Capital, TPG and Golden Gate did not return calls seeking comment. (Reporting by Phil Wahba; additional reporting by Megan Davies, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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