Leonard Green firm considering offer for BJ's

AP News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 1:37 PM
Leonard Green firm considering offer for BJ's

Investment firm Leonard Green & Partners LP said in a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is considering buying warehouse club operator BJ's Wholesale Club.

Leonard Green, which holds 9.3 percent of BJ's outstanding shares, said it is examining confidential information from BJ's.

BJ's, based in Westborough, Mass., operates 190 warehouse stores in 15 states from Maine to Florida. It reported this month that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell 81 percent from a year earlier as its expenses rose. But its adjusted profit beat expectations.

BJ's has focused in recent quarters on cutting costs and improving its operations, moves that could make it a more attractive acquisition. It said in February that it was exploring a sale, and analysts have said that being acquired could help it expand.

Leonard Green, based in Los Angeles, has recently targeted several retailers. It bid $1.3 billion for discount chain 99 Cents Only Stores this month, and its $1.6 billion purchase of craft store Jo-Ann Stores Inc. is expected to close Friday. It also was part of a group that acquired J. Crew for $3 billion in a deal that closed this month.

It also holds stakes in The Container Store, Neiman Marcus and other retailers.

BJ's shares were up $1.97, or 4.2 percent, at $48.49 by mid-afternoon. The stock has traded between $47.14 and $48.73 during the past 52 weeks.