BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. rose 7.1 percent in New York trading after the New York Post reported that Leonard Green & Partners LP may pursue a hostile bid for the chain.
The Los Angeles-based buyout firm may make a bid if no auction occurs in coming weeks, the newspaper said today, citing an unidentified person close to the situation. BJ’s planned an auction to sell itself after an earlier bid from Leonard Green, three people with knowledge of the situation said last month.
BJ’s, led by Chief Executive Officer Laura Sen, had a market value of about $2.4 billion as of yesterday and ranked as the third-largest U.S. wholesale chain behind Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Sam’s Club. The Natick, Massachusetts-based retailer, founded more than 25 years ago, operates about 190 warehouse clubs across the U.S.
BJ’s hired Morgan Stanley to help sell the company, said two people last month, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. Leonard Green announced in July it had taken a 9.5 percent stake in the company.
The shares rose $3.16 to $47.63 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The gain was the largest since Nov. 10.
Cathy Maloney, a spokeswoman for BJ’s, didn’t immediately return a phone call today seeking comment. Leonard Green’s Michael Gennaro also didn’t immediately return a call.
A bid for BJ’s would add to Leonard Green’s retail spree since November, which includes offers for fabric seller Jo-Ann Stores Inc. and J. Crew Group Inc. The firm, which manages about $9 billion, has holdings in such retailers as Whole Foods Market Inc., the largest U.S. natural-goods grocer, Petco Animal Supplies Inc. and fitness-club operator Equinox, according to its website.