Kohl shares jump after Hudson’s Bay considers takeover bid

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

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Kohl’s shares jumped 14% on Wednesday morning after reports indicated another department store chain was considering buying the retailer.

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

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is also considering an offer for Kohl’s, Axios said. Although it’s unclear if Sycamore is serious or not, according to the report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, later reported that Sycamore and Kohl’s were planning offers at a hefty $60 per share, potentially valuing Kohl’s at more than $9 billion. Kohl’s shares traded above $60 after the Journal report was released.

A Kohl spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, “As previously reported, the Board’s engagement with potential bidders is strong and ongoing.”

“The board will weigh potential offers against a compelling stand-alone 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 suitors come as Kohl’s has previously said an offer from Starboard-backed Acacia Research of $64 a share was too low. Kohl’s shares opened Wednesday at $54.46. The stock is up about 14% this year.

After activists lobbied earlier this year for Kohl’s to consider selling, the company began working with Goldman Sachs and other financial advisers to consider unsolicited offers, and also to proactively approach of potential buyers.

Kohl’s said last month that it has so far engaged with more than 20 parties, including real estate-focused investors and strategic companies. Without giving specific names, he said some of those entities had entered into confidentiality agreements with Kohl’s and were invited to submit proposals.

Also on Wednesday, Engine Capital sent a letter to Kohl’s board saying it was “extremely disappointed” with the longer-term outlook provided on Kohl’s recent investor day.

Engine said it fears Kohl’s may end up rejecting any final offer for its business, “based on an erroneous and unrealistic conclusion that it is undervaluing Kohl’s.”

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