J. Baker Acquires Big and Tall, Forms Subsidiary

J. Baker Inc., Canton, MA has completed its purchase of the primary assets of Repp Ltd. Big & Tall and Repp Ltd. by Mail from Edison Brothers Stores Inc., St. Louis.

The purchase price of $31.7 million gives J. Baker 175 Repp Ltd. Big & Tall stores and the Repp Ltd. by Mail catalog business. Both divisions will be organized under JBI Apparel Inc., the company’s newly formed clothing and accessories subsidiary.

Going forward, JBI Apparel said it will operate the Repp Ltd. by Mail catalog and 128 retail stores in the United States after closing 31 locations and selling Repp’s Canadian unit to Grafton-Fraser, Ontario, Canada.

The transaction for the agreement is being financed primarily through new credit facilities provided to JBI Apparel Inc. by BankBoston Retail Finance Inc., Back Bay Capital LLC, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. There was also sales revenue accrued from the sale of Repp Ltd.’s Canadian operations and the liquidation of inventory from closing stores.

In connection with the $10 million financing arranged by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, J. Baker issued 5-year warrants enabling holders to purchase a total of 1.2 million shares of the company's common stock at $5 per share.

The remaining 128 Repp Ltd. Retail stores and the Repp Ltd. by Mail catalog, which will continue to operate under the Repp Ltd. Big & Tall tradename, generated approximately $100 million in sales for the fiscal year ended Jan. 30.

Alan I. Weinstein, president/CEO said the acquisition will strengthen J. Baker’s company position in existing markets and afford it two new and important expansion vehicles. .

J. Baker, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of apparel and footwear. Along with the newly acquired Repp Ltd. Big & Tall business, the company operates the chain of 454 Casual Male Big & Tall stores, 63 Work 'n Gear and 767 self-service licensed footwear departments in discount department stores nationwide.

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