Kohl’s Receives Two New Takeover Bids — Is Stock Investment Safe?

Photo illustration in China - 09 Dec 2021
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Wisconsin-headquartered department store chain Kohl’s Corp has gotten takeover bids from two separate firms, The Wall Street Journal reported on June 2. According to their sources, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners valued the company in the mid-$50s per share. Franchise Group valued the stock at roughly $60 per share, which would total between $7 billion and $8 billion.

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Kohl’s stock jumped slightly upon the release of the news, opening on June 3 at just over $42 a share. The stock had been on a downswing in the prior month, which is reflective of the stock market as a whole due to supply chain issues, rising interest rates and other economic factors.

WSJ reported that the Kohl’s board will review the bids, although a decision may not come for several weeks, according to sources.

Recently, Kohl’s shareholders rejected activist investor Macellum Advisors GP LLC to replace 10 directors on the board, virtually overhauling the retailer’s board of directors. However, all 13 directors were re-elected, showing shareholders’ general support of the current board and the actions it’s taking as the company explores a possible sale.

Macellum was pushing for Kohl’s to sell the company, but also sell and lease back real estate holdings. Chief executive Michelle Gass, who took over in May 2018, has forged partnerships with Amazon and Sephora, but the stock is still worth roughly half of what it was in 2018 when it reached a high of nearly $82 per share.

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Macellum is among investors who are pushing for a sale in spite of the recent positive changes in the chain. A weak Q1 earnings report added validity to Macellum’s assertions that the company is continuing to struggle and a sale could be in order. Meanwhile, Kohl’s Chairman Peter Boneparth told WSJ at the time, “The board remains focused on running a robust and intentional review of strategic alternatives while executing our strategy to drive shareholder value.”

Since the valuations from both Sycamore — which owns Staples Inc., Express, and The Limited — and Franchise Group — which manages companies like Vitamin Shoppe and Pet Supplies Plus — are higher than Kohl’s current stock price, it makes sense for investors to hang tight.

Will the stock ever achieve its prior $80 levels or higher? That remains to be seen.

But as supply chain issues begin to sort themselves out and the board continues to pursue strategic alternatives to a buy-out, the future could look bright. Experts at TheMotley Fool called Kohl’s stock “a screaming buy” earlier this week.

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MarketBeat gave the stock a consensus rating of “hold,” with seven analysts giving it a “buy now,” six saying “hold” and only two recommending investors sell.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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