Kohl’s Corp. negotiating to sell to Vitamin Shoppe operator

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin-based Kohl’s Corp. is in negotiations to sell the company to the group that runs Vitamin Shoppe stores.

The Menominee Falls-based retailer said Monday that it has entered negotiations with Franchise Group Inc. to acquire the company at $60 per share. That translates to about $8 billion.

Franchise Group posted a statement saying it plans to finance the purchase by issuing $1 billion of debt and use the value of Kohl’s real estate holdings to finance the rest.

Kohl’s shareholders would receive $60 cash for each of their shares. The price is a nearly 43% premium to Kohl’s closing stock price of $42.12 during regular stock trading on Monday.

In addition to Pet Supplies Plus and The Vitamin Shoppe, Franchise Group’s brands include American Freight, Badcock Home Furniture & more, Buddy’s Home Furnishings and Sylvan Learning.

Kohl’s has more than 1,100 stores and about 100,000 employees across the country, including about 8,000 in Wisconsin. About half of them work at the Menominee Falls headquarters.

Kohl’s has been under pressure from activist investors to either improve the company’s performance and its stock price or sell the company outright. The sale would be subject to approval by both companies’ board of directors.