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Speculators target Chico's

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  • | 10:07 a.m. September 18, 2015
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Every so often, the stock of Chico's pops.

The publicly traded stock of Fort Myers-based women's retailer has been the frequent object of speculative activity since 2011. Chico's stock (symbol: CHS) jumps as investors get excited about the sale of the company, then it settles back down to where it traded before the hoopla.

The latest Wall Street rumor: On Sept. 14, Chico's stock rose 10.2% on a report by Bloomberg that private equity firm Sycamore Partners is interested in buying the company. The news service reported that Chico's is working with investment bank Peter J. Solomon.

But Chico's investors shouldn't hold their breath hoping for a white knight. Speculation Chico's might be sold has circulated since 2011, when the stock jumped 7% in one day on news the company was for sale.

In 2013, there was speculation again that Chico's might be sold after private equity firm Blue Harbor Group, now Chico's largest shareholder with 6.85% control, planned to force a sale of the company.

And as recently as February, the Wall Street Journal reported Chico's might be sold to private equity firms. That led to a 9% jump in Chico's stock overnight.

Speculation of a sale of Chico's is not completely unfounded. There's reason to believe the women's retailer may be an acquisition target for a larger competitor or private equity firm at a discount because Chico's results have suffered in recent years. For example, it recently announced plans to sell the Boston Proper brand and close stores.


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