99 Cents Only Stores now worth $1.6 billion

99 Cents Only Stores says it has a deal to be acquired by two investors. The deal must be approved by 99 Cents Only share owners.

Aurelia Ventura/La Opinion/Newscom/File
A 99 Cent Only Store located in downtown Los Angeles is pictured in this 2010 file photo. Two investors are offering to buy the 99 Cent Only Store chain for $1.6 billion.

Discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it has a deal to be acquired by two investors for about $1.6 billion.

Affiliates of the investment firm Ares Management LLC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have offered to buy the retailer's stock for $22 per share in cash, 99 Cents Only said in a statement.

The deal must be approved by 99 Cents Only shareholders. The retailer's board is recommending approval, and the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

The price being offered is 7.4 percent higher than the retailer's shares finished at on Monday but it is a 32 percent premium over the company's closing price on March 10, the day before 99 Cents Only disclosed that it had received an acquisition offer.

Its shares rose 88 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $21.37 in morning trading Tuesday.

Members of the company's founding Schiffer-Gold family said in the statement that they support the deal and will continue to hold a significant minority stake. CEO Eric Schiffer, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gold and Executive Vice President Howard Gold will stay in their current leadership roles and will serve as directors. Founder David Gold will be chairman emeritus.

The retailer, which is based in City of Commerce, California, has 289 stores, with 214 in California, 35 in Texas, 27 in Arizona and 13 in Nevada.

In March, private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP and the Schiffer-Gold family made offer of $19.09 per share, or about $1.3 billion, for the company.

The board said in the statement that it appointed a special committee of independent directors to evaluate buyout offers and strategic alternatives. The committee determined that the deal with Ares and the Canada Pension Plan is fair and in the best interest of the company and shareholders, the statement said.

The Schiffer-Gold family is participating in the acquisition and had separate financial and legal advisers from the board, the statement said.

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