UPDATE 1-Sycamore in lead for Men's Wearhouse's K&G chain-sources

Tue Dec 3, 2013 6:02pm EST

By Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis

NEW YORK Dec 3 (Reuters) - Sycamore Partners LLC is in advanced talks to acquire off-price chain store K&G from Men's Wearhouse Inc, the clothing retailer embroiled in a takeover battle with Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc, according to four people familiar with the matter.

K&G sells men's, women's and children's discounted apparel and accessories from brands such as Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole and Rocawear. It accounted for 15 percent of Men's Wearhouse's fiscal 2012 net sales of $2.5 billion.

The amount that Sycamore was offering for K&G could not be learned. The people, who spoke on condition that they would not be identified because the talks are confidential, said Men's Wearhouse could enter talks with other parties that bid for K&G if a deal with Sycamore canot be reached.

Sycamore declined to comment while a Men's Wearhouse representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Men's Wearhouse, which has executive offices in Fremont, California, operates more than 1,100 stores under the Men's Wearhouse, Moores and K&G banners. The company said in March it had asked Jefferies Group LLC to explore strategic options for K&G to allow it to focus on specialty men's apparel retailing.

The departure of Men's Wearhouse founder and executive chairman George Zimmer in June was partly due to his objections to selling K&G.

Last week, Men's Wearhouse struck back at Jos. A. Bank with a $1.5 billion bid to acquire the suit and tuxedo retailer, only weeks after rejecting a $2.3 billion takeover offer from its smaller rival.

Sycamore, a New York-based private equity firm specializing in the retail and consumer sectors, is also in advanced talks to acquire fashion apparel designer Jones Group Inc, people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

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