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Dollar General lifts offer for Family Dollar to about $9.1B, willing to divest more stores

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. - Dollar General upped its bid for the rival Family Dollar chain and addressed an earlier roadblock, saying that it will more than double the number of stores it would shed to ease the antitrust concerns of its takeover target.

The newest bid is worth $9.1 billion, or $80 per share, up from $78.50 per share in the previous offer.

Family Dollar, based in Matthews, North Carolina, rejected the earlier bid in favour of a lower offer of $8.5 billion from Dollar Tree Inc., saying that regulators were less likely to stand in the way. Family Dollar said Tuesday that it has received Dollar General's latest bid and will review it.

Dollar General, the country's largest dollar-store chain, says it would now divest as many as 1,500 stores, well above the 700 that it had originally agreed to, in order to sidestep any anti-monopoly actions that regulators might pursue.

The Goodlettsville, Tennessee, company has also said it will pay a $500 million reverse break-up fee to Family Dollar Stores Inc. if the deal hits antitrust roadblocks.

Dollar General Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said that a second antitrust review supported its prior bid, but that its offer was revised "to demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment."

The businesses of Family Dollar and Dollar General are more similar than Dollar Tree's. The first two sell items at a variety of prices while at Dollar Tree, all items are a buck.

Family Dollar has been looking for a lifeline after running into some financial stress, shuttering stores and cutting prices. In June one big shareholder, Carl Icahn, urged the company to put itself up for sale.

Family Dollar acted one month later, accepting an offer from Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree Inc. of $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for each share held. The companies valued the transaction at $74.50 per share at the time. Including debt and other costs, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree estimated the deal to be worth approximately $9.2 billion.

Family Dollar said its board is still supportive of a deal with Dollar Tree and that it won't comment further on Dollar General's revised offer until the board has completed its review.

Shares of Family Dollar added 54 cents to $80.37 in premarket trading, while Dollar General's stock gained 86 cents to $64.85.

The Canadian Press


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