CLIFTON, NJ-Linens ‘n Things’ board of directors has accepted a $1.3-billion, $28-per-share buyout offer from an affiliate of investment firm Apollo Management. The deal comes after weeks of speculation about possible buyers since the 516-store retailer put itself up for sale in September.

The Apollo affiliate includes other investors including NRDC Real Estate Advisors, a partnership between principals of Apollo and Purchase, NY-based National Realty and Development Corp., which owns about 14 million sf of shopping centers. New York City-based Apollo is no stranger to retail and has invested in AMC Theatres, Rent-A-Center, Zale Corp. and other chains.

Linens’ board and Apollo executives expect the deal to close in next year’s first or second quarter. After the transaction, Linens’ no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s stock closed at $26.40 the day before the offer was made public.

During its latest reported quarter, which ended Oct.1, Linens’ year-over-year same-store sales fell 10.1%. Total net sales dropped 3.8%, to $629.3 million and net income fell to just over $1 million, from $17.2 million in the same year-ago period.

The Linens deal is a continuation of recent retailer buyouts by private equity firms. One of the latest big transactions is the proposed $876 million-buyout of ShopKo Stores by Sun Capital Partners.

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