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J. Crew could be sold to Uniqlo’s parent company

It would be a mega-merger for international preppy fashion.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that J.Crew is in talks to be sold to Fast Retailing, the Japanese parent of Uniqlo.

This isn’t the only recent rumbling about changes at J. Crew, which was taken private by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners in 2011 in a deal worth $2.6 billion. Bloomberg recently reported that the casual retailer was talking to investment bankers about a possible public offering.

Uniqlo is the most-prominent brand of Fast Retailing, the holding company controlled by Japan’s richest man, Tadashi Yanai, who ended 2013 with an estimated fortune of nearly $21 billion.

And Yanai has long been an admirer of J. Crew boss, and former Gap CEO Mickey Drexler. A 2011 profile of Yanai in GQ contained this anecdote, which seemed to sum up Yanai’s feelings toward Drexler.

In the late ’80s, when Gap was in its heyday, Yanai invited the company’s wunderkind president Mickey Drexler to breakfast. Drexler arrived to find a little man peering up at him from a large round table.

“You are my professor,” Yanai told him. “I follow everything you do.”

Of course, a tie-up is far from a done deal. The Journal cautions that the talks between the two retailers are at an early stage and may come to nought.

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