Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sale rumor sends Macy's stock soaring

The stock of the parent company of Macy's, one of the anchor stores at Joplin's Northpark Mall, is soaring after Women's Wear Daily reported Wednesday that the company was about to be sold to buyout specialists Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co:

Buyout king Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. is close to reaching a deal to buy Macy's Inc. for $24 billion, Women's Wear Daily reported Wednesday. Both sides declined to comment on the report, but investors greeted the news by bidding up Macy's shares $3.06, or 8%, to $43.09.

Retail industry analysts said the company's tepid performance of late has made it vulnerable to an acquisition. Revenue fell 0.2%, to $5.9 billion, for its fiscal first quarter that ended May 5. Sales at stores open at least a year have slipped for the last three months.

The giant chain, with more than 820 stores nationwide, was forged by Federated Department Stores' 2005 acquisition of May Department Stores. The combined company then converted regional chains — including Robinsons-May in Southern California and Marshall Field's in Chicago — to the Macy's name, with mixed results.

"They wanted to build a national brand, and it wasn't working," said Eli Portnoy, founder of Portnoy Group Inc., a brand marketing consulting firm.

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