Collective Brands Inc. (PSS), the owner of the Payless ShoeSource chain, is weighing final offers to sell itself to South Korea’s E-Land Group or a group led by Wolverine World Wide Inc. (WWW), said two people with knowledge of the matter.
Collective Brands has attracted at least one bid that gives the company an enterprise value of about $2 billion, including debt, said one of the people, who declined to be named because the talks are private. Collective Brands is also considering offers from a few private-equity funds for parts of the company after bids came in late last week, said the people. Golden Gate Capital is bidding with Wolverine, one person said.
Collective Brands plans to make a decision on the bids in the coming days, said the people. The Topeka, Kansas-based company, which also markets Saucony and Sperry Top-Sider shoes, announced a strategic review in August and has been working with Perella Weinberg Partners LP and Kurt Salmon to explore options.
The company expected to receive bids that valued it at $20 to $22, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. That range was higher than the company anticipated in August, when it disclosed a review of plans to increase shareholder value, said the people.
The shares gained 3.7 percent to $19.93 at 10:05 a.m. New York time. Collective Brands had a market value of about $1.17 billion at yesterday’s close, and had $610 million of debt as of Jan. 28, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
A spokeswoman for Collective Brands and a spokesman for E- Land declined to comment. A Wolverine spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
E-Land, a closely held owner of fashion brand stores, discount malls and department stores across South Korea, targets footwear sales of 6 trillion won ($5.3 billion) by 2015, Korean- language daily Maeil Business Newspaper reported in March. Sales outside South Korea account for 18 percent of total revenue, the company said the same month, when it announced plans to bid for Collective Brands.
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