February 4, 2023

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Kohl’s sale negotiations could drag on for weeks, possibly longer

2 min read

The drawn-out bidding process for Kohl’s doesn’t appear to be coming to an end any time soon.

It could take several weeks, if not longer, for a deal to come together, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC. The dialogue has been particularly lengthy because of the difficulty in securing financing in uncertain market conditions, the person said, adding that a likely per-share deal price at this point would be in the mid-$50s.

Kohl’s shares closed slightly up at $41.48 Friday afternoon, giving the company a market value of roughly $5.33 billion. The stock had traded as low as $34.64 as recently as May 24.

“Anybody who buys the business is going to need time,” said the person, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private and ongoing. “Nobody is prepared to sign a deal right now.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday evening that private equity chain Sycamore Partners and retail conglomerate Franchise Group have both submitted their bids to acquire the off-mall department store chain. It’s unclear whether any other parties are interested at this time, the Journal said. About two weeks ago, Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said final and fully financed bids from possible buyers were expected in the coming weeks.

This saga at Kohl’s has been playing out for more than half a year, which deal experts describe as an abnormal amount of time.

The off-mall department store chain was first urged in early December of 2021 by New York-based hedge fund Engine Capital to consider a sale, or another alternative to boost its stock price. At the time, Kohl’s shares were trading around $48.45.

In mid-January, activist hedge fund Macellum Advisors then pressured Kohl’s to consider a sale. Macellum’s CEO, Jonathan Duskin, argued that executives were “materially mismanaging” the business. He also said Kohl’s had plenty of potential left to unlock with its real estate.

That was enough for the retailer to get serious about its options. In early February, Kohl’s said it had…

2022-06-03 16:01:07

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