by Christopher Blomquist
Belk in Jacksonville, Florida
Belk in Jacksonville, Florida

Belk, Inc., the nation’s largest family owned and operated fashion department store company, won’t be for much longer. The retailer, which is based in Charlotte, N.C. and operates almost 300 stores in 16 Southern states and has a growing online presence, announced today that it has entered into a merger agreement to be 100% acquired by New York-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners for approximately $3.0 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, all Belk stockholders will receive $68.00 per share in cash for each share of Belk common stock they own.

Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc., said in a statement, “We are delighted to have found a financial partner that sees what we see in Belk: a 127-year-old brand that remains relevant today with exceptional customer loyalty in small, medium and large cities throughout the South. We plan to grow Belk by executing our current strategic initiatives and undertaking new growth initiatives together with Sycamore. This transaction is an across-the-board win for our stakeholders.”

Under the terms of the transaction, Tim Belk will remain CEO of Belk and the company will keep its headquarters in Charlotte.

The agreement was unanimously approved by Belk’s board of directors. The transaction is subject to customary conditions but is expected to be completed by fourth quarter 2015.

Belk will join Sycamore Partners’ growing retail and fashion investment portfolio, which currently includes Aeropostale, Coldwater Creek, EMP Merchandising, Hot Topic, the Kasper Group, Kurt Geiger, MGF Sourcing, Nine West Holdings, Pathlight Capital, Talbots and Torrid.