Leonard Green keen to buy BJ's Wholesale-NY Post

Dec 29 (Reuters) - U.S. buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners remains keen to acquire warehouse club operator BJ's Wholesale Club Inc BJ.N and may launch a hostile bid if an auction is not initiated in the coming weeks, the New York Post said, citing sources.

“If it gets to mid-January and a sale has not started, there may be difficult conversations,” one source close to the situation told the newspaper.

However, BJ’s board and management have promised to initiate an auction after the holidays, according to the Post.

Leonard Green has “made it clear they have the potential to go hostile” with a BJ’s bid, a source told the paper.

Last week, Leonard Green offered to buy fabric and crafts company Jo-Ann Stores Inc JAS.N for about $1.6 billion in cash, less than a month after the private equity firm took part in a controversial buyout of another retailer, J Crew Group Inc JCG.N.

BJ’s declined to comment to the newspaper. Both BJ’s and Leonard Green could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by David Holmes)