Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus files for IPO

June 24, 2013: 11:36 AM ET

<> on March 3, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.Retailer Neiman Marcus files for an IPO, but its future plans remain far from settled.

FORTUNE -- Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus today filed for a $100 million initial public offering, seven years after being taken private for $5.1 billion.

Two important caveats: (1) This doesn't necessarily mean that the Dallas-based company will go public; (2) And if Neiman Marcus does go public, it is highly unlikely to raise as little as $100 million.

On the first point, it has been no secret that the company's private equity owners -- TPG Capital, Warburg Pincus and Leonard Green & Partners -- have been vacillating between a public listing and a sale to the highest bidder.

For example, there were informal discussions last month about selling Neiman Marcus to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), which then would also buy Saks Inc. (SKS) and merge the two. And Warburg Pincus is no stranger to dual processes, with portfolio company Bausch & Lomb filing for an IPO in March before agreeing to be acquired two months later by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX).

Also worth noting that the Bausch & Lomb IPO filing also was for $100 million, even though the Valeant deal values the company at 8.7 billion. Hard to imagine that it only was planning to float 1% of its shares via IPO. If Neiman Marcus does go public, expect it to follow the lead of a fellow PE-backed company like SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS), which filed for a $100 million IPO before ultimately raising more than $700 million.

Neiman Marcus reports three straight years on increasing profit and revenue, including $140 million in net income on $4.3 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending July 28, 2012. The 36-week period ending April 27, 2013 also comes in higher on both counts than the year-earlier period.

The last full year before private equity ownership, Neiman Marcus reported $248 million in net income on $3.7 billion in revenue. One explanation for the profit discrepancy is a major increase in long-term debt -- from around $250 million before the buyout to approximately $2.7 billion today. During its last fiscal year, Neiman Marcus paid around $175 million in interest on its loans.

Neiman Marcus did not list which exchange it plans to trade on, but did say that Credit Suisse (CS) would lead the offering.

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