Kohl’s shares jumped after reports that Hudson’s Bay is considering a buyout offer

The Kohl’s logo is displayed on the facade of a Kohl’s store on January 24, 2022 in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Shares of Kohl jumped 14% on Wednesday morning after reports that another department store chain was considering a buyout of the retailer.

Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay is considering applying. Axioswho based his reporting on conversations with multiple sources.

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is also considering buying Kohl’s, Axios said. Though according to the report, it’s not clear if Sycamore is serious.

Wall Street Magazine, citing people familiar with the matter, later reported that Sycamore and Kohl’s planned to file at the high price of $60 a share, potentially valuing Kohl’s at more than $9 billion. Kohl’s shares traded above $60 after the magazine’s report.

A spokeswoman for Kolya said in an emailed statement: “As previously reported, the board’s engagement with potential bidders is active and ongoing.”

“The board of directors will compare potential offerings with an attractive standalone plan and choose the path it believes will maximize shareholder value,” she said.

Hudson’s Bay did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. Sycamore declined to comment.

Rumors of potential fans came after Kohl’s had already said that Starboard-backed Acacia Research’s $64 per share offer was too low. Kohl’s shares opened Wednesday at $54.46. Shares are up about 14% this year.

After Kohl’s was pressured by activists earlier this year to consider selling itself, the company began working with Goldman Sachs and other financial advisers to consider unsolicited offers as well as proactively reaching out to potential buyers.

Kohl’s said last month that it has engaged with more than 20 parties so far, including real estate investors and strategic ventures. Without naming specific names, it says that some of these organizations have entered into confidentiality agreements with Kohl’s and have been asked to submit proposals.

Also Wednesday, Engine Capital sent a letter to Kohl’s board of directors saying it was “extremely disappointed” with the long-term outlook presented at Kohl’s recent investor day.

The Engine said it was concerned that Kohl’s could end up rejecting any final offers for its business “based on the erroneous and unrealistic conclusion that it undervalues ​​Kohl’s.”

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