True Religion Apparel agrees to $826M buyout offer Print article Send a Tip AP 5/10/2013 10:47:19 PM (AP) True Religion Apparel agrees to $826M buyout offerVERNON, Calif.True Religion Apparel, best known for its high priced denim, has agreed to a buyout offer of about $826 million from the investment management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners LP.The announcement Friday comes seven months after True Religion said it was exploring strategic options. Like many high-end jean companies, True Religion's business suffered in recent years as recession-scarred shoppers no longer wanted to pay $200 for a pair of jeans.In March, its CEO Jeff Lubell stepped down and was named chairman emeritus and a creative consultant.TowerBrook Capital has previously invested in companies including designer shoe marketer Jimmy Choo and athletic apparel retailer Odlo but has since sold those stakes.It has agreed to pay $32 per share for True Religion, a 9 percent premium to its closing price of $29.44 on Thursday."At this critical inflection point in our business, global growth and product development effort, TowerBrook's support and experience will be a true differentiator," Lynn Koplin, the interim CEO and president of True Religion, said in a statement.True Religion's board unanimously approved the transaction. It still needs approval from the Vernon, Calif., company's stockholders.Separately, True Religion Apparel Inc. reported a dramatic drop in its first-quarter net income on Friday as the company's results were dragged down by costs of the company's strategic review and the separation agreement with Lubell.Its shares rose $2.38, or 8 percent, to close at $31.82 Friday, after reaching a 52-week high of $31.85 earlier. Shares were still below the offered price. That suggests investors don't anticipate a richer offer.For the first quarter ended March 31, True Religion posted net income of $526,000, or 2 cents per share, compared with $10.4 million, or 41 cents per share, in the year ago period.Excluding the items, the company earned 22 cents per share for the quarter. Analysts expected 34 cents per share, according to a survey by FactSet.Revenue increased 13.1 percent to $120.8 million. Analysts expected revenue of $113.2 million.FactSet says True Religion has approximately 25.8 million outstanding shares. The companies put the deal's total value at about $835 million.