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Kohl’s Says Adviser Goldman Has Talked to 20 Potential Buyers

Kohl's department store exterior in Minneapolis, United States.
Kohl’s Corp.’s financial adviser Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has engaged with more than 20 potential buyers. (Shutterstock)

Kohl’s Corp.’s financial adviser Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has engaged with more than 20 potential buyers, including various financial sponsors, fellow retailers and real-estate-focused investors, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Some of those parties have entered into confidentiality agreements with the company and have been provided access to a data room and management presentations, and have been invited to submit proposals to acquire the company, Kohl’s said.

The conversations with the interested parties took place from January to March, the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based company said in the filing.

“We have had engagement with roughly 20 parties — we’ve had some unsolicited bids and we’ve also done some outreach to make sure that we are doing our job as a board to evaluate these options against a very strong plan,” Kohl’s chief executive officer Michelle Gass said in an interview Monday on Bloomberg TV.

Kohl’s said last month it had rejected takeover offers for the company because they undervalued it and had engaged bankers to field additional interest in the company.

Both Sycamore Partners and a suitor backed by hedge fund Starboard Value LP had engaged with Kohl’s about a potential deal amid activist investor pressure to sell, Bloomberg News has reported. While it’s unclear how much Sycamore was willing to pay for Kohl’s, Acacia Research Corp., the Starboard-backed suitor, had offered $64 a share, or about $9 billion.

Kohl’s shares rose 2.4 percent to $52.37 in after-hours trading Monday, recovering some ground after plunging 13 percent during the regular session.

During a virtual investor day on Monday, Kohl’s executives laid out its long-term plan to grow sales. It said it sees its partnership with Sephora becoming a $2 billion business, plans to open about 100 smaller format stores throughout the US and said it is targeting long-term earnings per share growth in the mid-to-high single digits and low-single-digit percentage sales growth.

By Jordyn Holman and Scott Deveau

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