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Neiman Marcus filing for an IPO doesn’t mean a sale is off the table

Despite recent market volatility, the owners of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus have decided to take it public. Neiman Marcus filed for an IPO today, with Credit Suisse having the prized role of lead underwriter.

Neiman’s private equity owners TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus had also been exploring a sale of the retailer. Neiman rejected a possible merger with rival Saks Fifth Avenue, an idea proposed by private equity firm KKR, which has been mulling an investment in Saks.

Although luxury sales took a hit amid the financial crisis, they have recovered more quickly than retailers at the lower end of the market. Neiman Marcus has also performed better than its competitors, like Saks. Earlier this month, Neiman Marcus said its third quarter earnings rose by 13%.

That doesn’t mean a sale of Neiman Marcus is completely off the table. If market jitters continue to roil stocks around the time Neiman decides to go public, it could opt to delay the IPO or seek a sale instead. Besides private equity suitors, Neiman Marcus also attracted attention from sovereign wealth funds.

Another Warburg portfolio company, eye-care firm Bausch & Lomb, was slated for an IPO for months. But Valeant Pharmaceuticals came along with a better offer, and acquired the company for almost $9 billion in May.

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