From the PE Wire: The $5.1 billion buyout of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group won't be consummated until at least November, but certain market analysts already are asking how Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus plan to generate positive returns with an offer price of $100 per share. Not only has NMG stock never traded at $100, but its recent sprint past $90 per share seems to have been largely driven by constant reports that deep-pocketed private equity firms were circling their wagons. Moreover, the 10.2x or 10.3x purchase price multiple (depending on who's doing the math) is higher than that of the average mega-buyout (according to 2004 S&P data), and also is higher than the average retail market acquisition. Since no major managerial changes are expected, the ROI equation seems to involve some serious expansion, including more brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and abroad, plus the continued build-out of its online catalog business. All well and good from a theoretical perspective, since NMG isn't on every urban street corner, like a Gap or Crate & Barrel. On the other hand, at least one analyst report yesterday (from Morningstar) suggested that NMG's very success is rooted in its customers' perception of exclusivity, which could be dampened by anything approaching omnipresence. Maybe TPG and Warburg are simply betting that NMG's target market of 45-60 year-olds making more than $200K per year will continue to grow, and that our current macro-economic problems (including that pesky GDP) will just be a momentary blip.