Collective Brands Said to Seek Final Bids by End of April

Collective Brands Inc. (PSS), the owner of the Payless ShoeSource chain, is seeking final offers at the end of April from retailers including Brown Shoe Co. (BWS) and South Korea’s E-Land Group, said two people familiar with the matter.

While no final bids have been made, Collective Brands expects to receive bids that value it at $20 to $22 a share, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The price range is higher than Collective Brands anticipated in August, when the company disclosed its strategic review, said the people.

Collective Brands, which also markets Saucony and Sperry Top-Sider shoes, has been working with Perella Weinberg Partners LP and Kurt Salmon to explore strategic options. Last month, the company shrank the pool of potential buyers to about 10, people familiar with the matter said at the time. A price of $22 a share would value Topeka, Kansas-based Collective Brands at $1.33 billion based on its shares outstanding as of Jan. 28.

The Korean-language Maeil Business Newspaper reported that E-Land was preparing a $1.8 billion joint bid. E-Land has indicated to Collective Brands it will put in a solo bid to acquire the whole company and hasn’t give a price, said one of the people.

Brown Shoe also has indicated it will bid, most likely with Cerberus Capital Management LP, said one of the people. Other private-equity firms, including Golden Gate Capital Corp. and Leonard Green & Partners LP, are looking to bid for all or parts of the company, said the people.

E-Land Interest

“E-Land seeks to buy Collective Brands,” Ro Byung Gyoo, a spokesman for E-Land Group, said by phone yesterday. He declined to give details of the offer, including its price.

Peggy Reilly Tharp, a spokeswoman for St. Louis-based Brown Shoe, didn’t return telephone and e-mail requests for comment. Michael Gennaro, chief operating officer and spokesman for Los Angeles-based Leonard Green, didn’t return telephone and e-mail requests for comment. Spokesmen for Collective Brands, San Francisco-based Golden Gate and New York-based Cerberus declined to comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeffrey McCracken in New York at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net; Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York at llochner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net

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