Teen apparel retailer Rue21 is to be acquired by private equity firm Apax Partners for US$1.1bn, in a move that will enable it to expand its store portfolio and build an e-commerce platform.

Apax Partners will pay $42.00 per share in cash for the company which operates 932 stores - a premium of around 23% on yesterday's (22 May) closing share price.

Chairman, president and CEO Bob Fisch said: "This transaction will allow us to focus on achieving our long-term objectives, including growing our business to over 1,700 stores in the US and successfully implementing new initiatives such as e-commerce and rueMan."

As part of the agreement, a special committee has been set up to conduct a 40-day "go-shop" process during which it will evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with any parties that make a superior offer. 

Rue21 will remain headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania following the deal.

Apax, which already owns a 30% stake Rue21, earlier this year completed the buyout of footwear brand Cole Haan in a $570m deal with sportswear giant Nike

Separately, Rue21 also reported a 9.1% increase in first-quarter net sales, but comparable store sales fell 4.6% due to unseasonably cool weather, higher payroll taxes and delayed tax refunds.