Online jeweler Blue Nile has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Bain Capital for nearly $500 million or $40.75 per share.
Online jeweler Blue Nile agreed to be acquired by a private investor group for nearly $500 million, sending its stock soaring nearly 34 percent Monday.
The Seattle company said it will be acquired by funds affiliated with investment firms Bain Capital and Bow Street.
The all-cash deal, in which Blue Nile stockholders will receive $40.75 per share, represents a 34 percent premium over Blue Nile’s closing share price on Nov. 4, according to the company.
The Seattle company went public in 2004, and its stock peaked at close to $100 in 2007. For the past year, its shares have fluctuated between $22 and $39. It closed Monday at $40.76.
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In recent quarters, Blue Nile has struggled with flat sales and crimped profits as jewelry prices declined.
It reported Monday that in the latest quarter, net income fell to $1.29 million from $1.98 million a year earlier, while sales decreased to $105.1 million from $109.9 million.
Recently, Blue Nile has been experimenting with small brick-and-mortar showrooms in malls — an avenue company executives find promising.
“Blue Nile will continue its innovative drive that has disrupted the diamond industry and made us the smartest, easiest, and most pressure-free way for consumers to buy a diamond,” Blue Nile chairman and CEO Harvey Kanter said in a statement.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. The merger agreement allows Blue Nile to seek alternative acquisition proposals for the next 30 days.
“This is an opportunity to acquire a true disrupter in a fundamentally attractive and growing segment of the diamond industry,” said Ryan Cotton, a managing director at Bain Capital Private Equity.
Neil Saunders, managing director of retail research at consulting firm Conlumino, said the deal makes sense for both Blue Nile and the buyers.
“From the investors’ point of view, the opportunity is to get on board with a fast-growing retailer and a fast-growing concept in what is still a very lucrative part of the retail market: the jewelry sector.”
What’s attractive about Blue Nile is that it seems to be engaging millennials, which some more traditional jewelers are struggling to do, Saunders said.
“The jewelry sector is changing, including how people shop for things like engagement and wedding rings,” he said.
For Blue Nile, the move makes sense because it needs an influx of investment and expertise as it opens more showrooms and tries to get to the next level.
“They will benefit from the investment piece and the expertise” in brick-and-mortar store and omnichannel operations, Saunders said.