GNC Gains as Nutrition Company May Sell Itself, Restructure

Nutrition retailer GNC Holdings Inc. rose the most since January after the company said it is exploring a wide range of strategic options, which could include selling itself, changing its capital structure or overhauling its operations.

The shares were up 6.8 percent to $26.02 at 2:56 a.m. in New York, after earlier rising as much as 7.4 percent for the biggest intraday gain since Jan. 20. The company’s stock fell 29 percent on Thursday after the retailer reported first-quarter adjusted earnings that fell short of analysts’ estimates and said that same-store sales were down.

“We believe it is an appropriate time to undertake a comprehensive review of the company’s strategic and financial alternatives,” Chairman Michael Hines said in a statement announcing the review.

GNC said the review will include a review of its operating plan and could involve refranchising stores, changing the company’s capital structure, or selling itself.

One potential buyer could be Vitamin Shoppe Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Christopher Horvers said in a note. The company could also be acquired by a private equity buyer, he said, if GNC added debt to buy back its own stock and go private, he said.

GNC, based in Pittsburgh, runs a chain of health and nutrition stores selling dietary supplements like protein powders and vitamins. It oversees about 9,000 locations, including more than 6,700 in the U.S., according to the company.

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