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Kohl’s Retains Goldman, Rejects Bids

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Published: February 4th, 2022
The activist-targeted department store chain rejects expressions of interest while noting it has retained Goldman Sachs — first reported last month in The Deal — to engage with interested parties.

Activist-targeted Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) on Friday, Feb. 4, said that expressions of interest it has received don’t adequately reflect the company’s value, adding that it hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to engage with interested parties.

On Jan. 19, The Deal reported that the department store chain had privately hired Goldman Sachs as an adviser after the investment bank had assisted with insurgent campaigns and M&A at Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) and Big Lots Inc. (BIG).

Soon after The Deal’s report, on Jan. 24, Acacia Research Corp. (ACTG) and activist Starboard Value LP emerged with a $64 a share cash bid to acquire Kohl’s. In addition, reports revealed that private equity shop Sycamore Partners LLC could pay at least $65 a share, or about $9.1 billion, to buy the chain.

Kohl’s said Friday that it retained Goldman to engage with interested parties, while it also had hired PJT Partners Inc. PJT Partners’ role is unclear, though the firm has an activism defense practice chaired by former ValueAct Capital Partners LP partner Allison Bennington.

Activist fund Macellum Advisors GP LLC, led by Jonathan Duskin, in January issued a letter threatening a director contest if Wisconsin-incorporated Kohl’s did not launch a strategic review first. Its recently adjusted director nomination deadline is Feb. 11 for a meeting expected in May.

The fund noted in the letter that it heard the board and its representatives had rebuffed “overtures from credible buyers,” but Kohl’s responded saying it was disappointed with Macellum’s “unfounded speculation.”

Editor’s note: The original version of this article, including individual names of advisers and other details, was published earlier on The Deal’s premium subscription website. For access, log in to TheDeal.com or request a free trial.

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