Retailer Macy’s rejected a $5.8 billion takeover bid late Sunday that valued the struggling department store chain at about 20 percent above its closing stock price on Friday, but suggested it was “open to opportunities.”
The bidders, Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital, are seeking to acquire Macy’s shares that they do not already own at $21 per share and that they have threatened to take the offer to shareholders.
With a possible hostile bid on the horizon, questions are being raised about how Arkhouse and Brigade could reach a deal and whether additional suitors could emerge, potentially triggering a bidding war.
In a statement issued Sunday night, Macy’s board of directors questioned whether the investment firms had the money to finance the deal, which it said “lacks compelling value.” He noted that the offer was accompanied by a letter with “numerous” non-traditional stipulations.
Macy’s also questioned the financial viability of the deal. He said the companies had proposed paying 25 percent of the offer in shares. The rest of the financing would likely come from debt, such as leveraged loans, but appetite for such deals has waned thanks in part to high interest rates.
Macy’s has not contacted potential buyers, people familiar with the matter said. But the retailer’s president and chief executive, Jeff Gennette, said in a statement: “We remain open to opportunities that are in the best interest of the company and all of our shareholders.”
Still, the list of potential suitors is short, given the challenges facing the retail sector amid persistent inflation and changes in consumer spending. The detrimental effect of accumulating debt on a retailer in leveraged buyouts, such as those of Payless, Toys “R” Us and Sears, has scared many private equity firms away from such deals. Still, there may be some willing, especially if they are attracted to Macy’s valuable real estate portfolio.
Macy’s has been under pressure to improve its business as consumers have spent less on discretionary items. Its shares have fallen about 30 percent over the past five years as the company lost significant market share and was forced to close stores and lay off staff. Last week, it announced it would cut 2,350 jobs.
Macy’s shares rose 3.4 percent Monday morning.
As the company tries to turn its fortunes around, all eyes are on Tony Spring, who will take over as CEO next month after leading Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s much healthier, higher-end brand. But duplicating that success could be a challenge: Macy’s shoppers are different than Bloomingdale’s customers, and it has a large, underperforming store base.
Jordyn Holman contributed with reports.