December 2, 2014 / 9:11 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brown Shoe vying to buy Stuart Weitzman -sources

(Adds Financial Times report on Coach, more background)

By Olivia Oran and Mike Stone

NEW YORK, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Footwear retailer Brown Shoe Company Inc is trying to acquire women’s luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC, which could fetch close to $1 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Brown Shoe is competing against other potential suitors, that include private equity firms and financial investors, the sources said. An outcome in the auction for Stuart Weitzman is expected this month, they added.

The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported on Tuesday that luxury accessories maker Coach Inc was also vying for Stuart Weitzman.

Buyout firm Sycamore Partners, the owner of Stuart Weitzman, has been working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup Inc on the sale of the company, Reuters reported in August.

The sources requested anonymity because the sale process is confidential. Representatives for Sycamore declined to comment. Representatives for Brown, Coach and Stuart Weitzman did not respond to requests for comment.

Stuart Weitzman operates 45 retail stores across the United States and also has 62 elsewhere. Brown Shoe operates more than 1,200 stores, primarily in the United States.

Sycamore Partners acquired Stuart Weitzman earlier this year as part of its $2.2 billion purchase of Jones Group Inc, the fashion company that owns retail chains Nine West and Jones New York.

St. Louis-based Brown Shoe was a bidder in the initial Jones Group sale process, which began in the summer of 2013. Brown Shoe had previously acquired the Sam & Libby brand from Jones Group in 2012.

Brown Shoe’s interest in Stuart Weitzman is in line with its recent investments in higher-end brands such as Jack Erwin, a men’s dress shoe line.

Last week, Brown Shoe posted higher-than-expected quarterly sales and raised its fiscal-year earnings outlook. Its shares are up 15 percent year to date, outperforming a 12 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. (Reporting by Olivia Oran and Mike Stone in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Von Ahn)

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