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Uniqlo's Parent Company May Buy J. Crew: WSJ

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J CREW STORE
A woman passes a J Crew clothing store, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, in New York. J. Crew said Tuesday it will be taken private in a $3 billion deal with two investment firms, including its former parent. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Japanese retail mammoth Fast Retailing is reportedly in talks to purchase U.S.-based J. Crew, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Though the talks are still at an "early stage," J. Crew is looking for up to $5 billion in a sale, the report claims.

J. Crew is owned by private equity firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners and boasts a fleet of more than 400 stores in the U.S.

Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, is the largest apparel retailer in Asia. In recent years, chief executive Tadashi Yanai has spearheaded a plan to expand aggressively overseas, setting the audacious goal of becoming the biggest seller of clothes in the world by 2020.

"We will become the overwhelming number one brand in Asia, and we will continue our strategy of massive store launches and expand our territory," the CEO said of Uniqlo at a news conference last April. "Of course we want to become number one in the U.S., if we can."

Yanai has postured about massive acquisitions before. In 2009, he said global apparel behemoth Gap was "within the scope" of names he may consider pursuing.

In addition to Uniqlo, Fast Retailing owns a variety of other brands like Theory, Helmut Lang and J Brand.