Talbots Inc. on Monday agreed to buy J. Jill Group Inc. for about $517 million, trumping a bid by Liz Claiborne Inc., in a surprise deal that creates the largest U.S. retailer catering to women over age 35.

Talbots will acquire J. Jill's outstanding shares for $24.05 per share in cash, a 25 percent premium over the closing price of J. Jill shares on Friday. Liz Claiborne had offered to pay $18 per share for the company.

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