Shopping Mercantile Again

Last year, Mercantile Stores (MST) glowed red-hot in the rumor mills: Buyout talk drove the stock from 45 to 64 in three months. No deal came through, and it sagged to the low 50s by June. Now Mercantile, with 102 department stores in 50 states, is back on the screens of buyout pros, who reckon at least two suitors are set on acquiring the company--at a higher price.

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