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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Merging Saks with Neiman Marcus may make sense, but it won't be easy.
FORTUNE -- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) reportedly is considering a massive luxury retail consolidation move: Buying both Saks Inc. (which just went on the block) and Neiman Marcus (being sold by a PE group that includes TPG, Warburg Pincus, Leonard Green and Credit Suisse) -- and then merging the two companies together.
To be sure, there are some good MOREDan Primack - May 23, 2013 10:58 AM ET
The private equity owners of Neiman Marcus are looking for an exit, according to sources, just as the luxury retail market hits a bump.
By Janet Morrissey
FORTUNE -- Savvy exit or gutsy risk? That's the question observers are asking as talk escalates along Wall Street that the private equity owners of Neiman Marcus are preparing to take the company back into the public arena, just as sales are starting to slow. MOREDec 18, 2012 9:28 AM ET
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