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Neiman Marcus has a new owner in $6 billion deal

– Luxury merchant Neiman Marcus is getting a new owner.

Ares Management and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board announced Monday they are buying the luxury chain Neiman Marcus for $6 billion. The two new owners will hold an equal economic interest in Neiman Marcus, and the company’s management will retain a minority stake.

“We plan on investing meaningful capital into the business to ensure Neiman’s long-term position as the unparalleled leader in luxury retail,” said David Kaplan, senior partner and co-head of the private equity group of Ares.

The deal, expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter, would end control of the retailer by private equity firms TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus. They bought the firm for $5.1 billion in 2005 during the booming luxury years, when affluent shoppers scooped up $5,000 handbags with abandon, then held onto it during the depths of the recession and recovery period.

But while overall luxury sales have rebounded, that over-the-top spending has lost its froth. In fact, the luxury market is showing signs of a slowdown. Consulting firm Bain & Co. predicts luxury sales will be up 5 percent to 7 percent in the Americas this year, down from 13 percent in 2012.

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