Kohl’s Reportedly Weighing $9 Billion Takeover From Vitamin Shoppe Owner

Kohl’s has reportedly received another takeover bid, this time from Franchise Group.

The owner and operator of retail chains including the The Vitamin Shoppe, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, and Pet Supplies Plus has reportedly placed a $9 billion offer to acquire the retail chain, Reuters reported. As per the report, Franchise Group has offered Kohl’s $69 per share to purchase the department store.

Kohl’s did not immediately return FN’s request for comment. Franchise Group declined to comment.

HBC’s Hudson’s Bay Co., which owns Hudson’s Bay and Saks, had reportedly entered the race for Kohl’s in March with a bid of at least $70 per share, Reuters reported.

In February, Kohl’s rejected two takeover bids, noting that the offers  “do not adequately reflect the company’s value in light of its future growth and cash flow generation.”

Private equity firm Sycamore, which had previously been cited as a potential contender, expressed that it was looking to pay around $65 per share for Kohl’s, CNBC reported in February. Acacia Research also reportedly offered to pay about $64 a share for the department store chain.

In March, Kohl’s confirmed that it was weighing offers from multiple parties that were interested in purchasing the company. The department store chain hired Goldman Sachs to engage with potential bidders and discuss alternatives for the business. Kohl’s said in a separate letter to shareholders that it has engaged with over 20 parties. These proposals, Kohl’s said, are non-binding and without financial commitment.

Without addressing specific would-be acquirers, a Kohl’s spokeswoman told FN that, as previously disclosed, the company’s board is engaging in robust and ongoing discussions with bidders. “The board will measure potential bids against a compelling standalone plan and choose the path that it believes maximizes shareholder value,” the spokeswoman said.

Macellum Advisors, which owns nearly 5% of shares at Kohl’s, has expressed skepticism about the future of the company, given its current board of directors and perfomance compared to retail peers. Macellum, which has asked Kohl’s to consider taking an offer to sell its business, has nominated 10 candidates for election to the company’s board of directors at the annual shareholder meeting on May 11, 2022.

Kohl’s has continuously called on its shareholders to reject activist investor Macellum Advisors’ proposal ahead of its annual meeting in May.

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