Could Family Dollar Be Reconsidering Its Decision To Pick Dollar Tree Over Dollar General?

The decision by the Family Dollar to start and then immediately adjourn a shareholder meeting today without voting on two proposed takeover deals may be a sign of a change of heart in the dollar store soap opera.

Reuters reports that Family Dollar shareholders voted not to proceed with a vote on a proposed takeover by Dollar Tree Inc. in order to receive more information from federal regulators on a proposed takeover bid by Dollar General.

Although Family Dollar has twice denied Dollar General’s advances in the merger department, the shareholders’ decision to delay making its long-awaited choice with regards to the Dollar Tree takeover gives more time for federal regulators to evaluate the $9.1 billion offer from Dollar General.

Officials with Family Dollar say a meeting to vote on the Dollar Tree deal will now take place on January 22 after it was determined that there were insufficient votes to approve the deal today.

Industry analysts tell Reuters that the lack of votes could be a sign that investors are interested in having a greater discussion of the higher bid by Dollar General.

Following Family Dollar’s decision last week to suspend voting at today’s meeting, Dollar General announced it would once again extend its deadline on its takeover offer one month from December 31 to January 30.

The No. 1 dollar store previously extended its deadline when it was revealed the company’s proposal didn’t have enough support the day before its initial deadline of October 30. At that time, Dollar General had only received offers for about 4 million Family Dollar shares of the total 114 million shares currently outstanding.

The sordid dollar store love triangle began back in July when Dollar Tree made an $8.5 billion bid for North Carolina-based Family Dollar. Not one to feel left out, Dollar General proceeded to provide an unsolicited bid of $8.95 billion for the smaller chain.

But Family Dollar wasn’t feeling the love and rejected the offer citing “significant antitrust issues” because the two chains have similar business models. Both Dollar General and Family Dollar sell items at different dollar price points, catering to low-income shoppers, while Dollar Tree caters to more middle-income shoppers and sells most items at $1.

Dollar General came back with a second bid of $9.1 billion and in an attempt to ease Family Dollars’ anti-trust review fears it proposed closing 1,500 of the potentially combined-companies 20,000 stores.

Yet, that still wasn’t enough and Family Dollar rejected the bid, choosing instead to stay with its true love, Dollar Tree. Dollar General subsequently turned hostile, taking its big directly to shareholders in September.

Family Dollar adjourns shareholder meeting on Dollar Tree deal [Reuters]

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