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Zale to Pay $75 Million for Its Former Owner Marking a reversal of fortunes, Zale Corp., the largest U.S. retail jeweler, plans to buy Peoples Jewellers Corp., Canada’s biggest jewelry chain. Peoples had owned Zale when the latter went into bankruptcy in 1992. The all-cash deal, worth about $75 million ($115 million Canadian), is expected to close before the end of May. The acquisition of the 175-store chain will make Zale the largest specialty retail jeweler in the Western Hemisphere. Zale Corp., headquartered in Irving, Texas, operates about 1,140 stores under the names Zales Jewelers, Zale’s Outlet, Gordon’s Jewelers, and Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers. It also has a Web site, Zales Direct (www.zales.com). Peoples becomes its sixth division. No changes in name, operations, or personnel are planned. However, Clare Copeland, Peoples’ president, was uncertain wheth

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