Kohl’s confirmed that it has been approached about a possible sale of the department store chain, sending shares up more than 30% in early trading Monday.
The company said that it would not comment further, but its confirmation follows media reports that the private equity firm Sycamore Partners had approached Kohl’s about a potential deal. Days earlier, a group called Acacia Research, backed by activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP, reportedly bid $64 per share, or about $9 billion
Kohl’s Corp., based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, said Monday that its board is reviewing the offers. A spokesman at Sycamore declined to comment, while Acacia couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
The reported offers come just a week after activist hedge fund Macellum Advisors released a letter urging Kohl’s to explore strategic options, including a sale, if the chain doesn’t take action to improve its business and increase its stock price. The investor said it planned to nominate a slate of director candidates at Kohl’s shareholders meeting this year, unless Kohl’s decides to embrace some changes.
In April 2021, Kohl’s announced it was adding three independent members to its board of directors as part of an agreement it struck with a key activist investor group that included Macellum. In addition to Macellum, the group also included Ancora Holdings, Legion Partners Asset Management and 4010 Capital.
Shares of Kohl’s spiked 32%, or $15.29, to $62.18 each.