rue21 shareholders agree to $1.1 billion acquisition by private equity firm

rue21 shareholders agree to $1.1 billion acquisition by private equity firm

Shareholders of rue21 voted overwhelmingly this morning to approve a sale of the Cranberry-based teen clothing retail chain to London-based Apax Partners, already a major investor.

The company said 22.4 million, or more than 95 percent, of outstanding shares — including 15.3 million shares held by investors not affliated with the major investor — were voted in favor of taking a $42-a-share offer for the business.

The vote, which came at a special shareholders meeting at rue21 headquarters in Thorn Hill Industrial Park, checks off another requirement in the sale that company officials announced in May and now expect to close by early October.

On a second nonbinding, advisory vote on golden parachute packages for top rue21 executives, almost 18 million votes, or 76.5 percent, were cast in favor.

Rue21, which has grown sales in part by opening new stores offering inexpensive fashion to teens beyond the traditional suburban malls, putting many of its stores in communities that don’t have a concentration of teen retailers, had more than 950 locations in 47 states as of early August, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shares of the company, which rose from just above $34 to $41.96 after the planned sale was announced, closed Wednesday at $40.75.

They’ve been down slightly in recent days following the company’s report that sales over the summer months had been slow, reflecting a sluggishness that has affected other teen retailers as well.

Apax initially had offered between $38 and $39 a share in the fall of 2012, according to filings with the SEC. In November, the offer was raised to $40 per share.

In the end, the price of $42 per share was agreed upon.

Teresa Lindeman: or 412-263-2018.