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J Crew's Mickey Drexler favoured TPG deal

J Crew chief executive Millard ‘Mickey’ Drexler negotiated the potential sale of the American casualwear business for seven weeks ahead of the announcement of a $3bn (£1.9bn) private equity deal last month.

According to filings on the New York Stock Exchange, J Crew agreed a deal to sell the business to TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners despite interest from other parties because chairman and chief executive Drexler would stay in his role if TPG was involved.

The private equity firms agreed a deal to acquire J Crew last month but the deal has until January 15 to be completed.

According to the regulatory filings, J Crew said Drexler told a committee he would have “significant reservations” about working with a new boss, but said he had a “high level of comfort” with TPG.

The committee evaluating the potential sale of the brand concluded that Drexler would be “unwilling to work for any third party other than TPG”.

The filings also said another unidentified party made an inquiry which failed to move beyond the preliminary stage and another private equity firm also expressed interest in the brand; however J Crew didn’t pursue the potential deals as it believed Drexler would not stay on if TPG were not involved.

Discussions involving TPG, Leonard Green and Drexler went on for about seven weeks beginning on August 23, before the board was notified between October 7 and October 11. The two private-equity buyers were also given access to management’s earnings estimates for the third quarter before J Crew’s board was aware of the negotiations.

According to reports last week the acquisition is likely to undergo intense legal scrutiny. It is understood about 12 law firms have said they intend to investigate the deal.

Law firm Joseph Klein said on Tuesday it would investigate J Crew’s board to determine if it breached its fiduciary duty in agreeing to the deal, either by signing the deal on too low a price or by not shopping it adequately.

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