Dollar Tree Crowned Victor In Battle For Family Dollar

The dollar store war appears to have finally come to an end today, as the shareholders for Family Dollar overwhelmingly voted in favor of a smaller, but safer, takeover bid from Dollar Tree, effectively crushing the heart of aggressive suitor Dollar General. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that shareholders put an end to the months-long will-they-won’t-they dance between major U.S. dollar stores, when nearly 89% of the votes during the special meeting on Thursday landed in favor of Dollar Tree’s $8.9 billion offer.

Thursday’s vote wasn’t entirely unexpected; just last week officials with Family Dollar sent a letter to shareholders urging them to approve the Dollar Tree deal despite a heftier $9.1 billion bid by Dollar General.

The company argued that closing the deal with Dollar Tree was  a “virtual certainty” compared to Dollar General’s bid, which they say wouldn’t stand up to regulatory approval.

In the letter, Family Dollar said that following talks with the government, they believed it would be difficult for Dollar General to divest itself of enough stores to secure approval, saying there could be as many as 3,500 to 4,000 “presumptively problematic” stores in Dollar General’s proposal.

On the other hand, Dollar Tree officials reported that early findings by the Federal Trade Commission suggested that just 300 stores would have to be divested for its proposal to gain approval. The company said they had already identified buyers for those stores.

Representatives with Family Dollar previously said the merger with Dollar Tree could close as soon as March.

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.

Dollar Tree Wins the Battle for Family Dollar [The Wall Street Journal]

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