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Icahn urges sale of Family Dollar Stores
June 20th, 2014
NEW YORK – Activist investor Carl Icahn is calling on Family Dollar Stores Inc. to find a buyer.
Icahn ratcheted up the pressure on the dollar store chain Thursday with release of a letter that he wrote to Family Dollar Stores chairman and chief executive officer Howard Levine urging that the discount retailer “be put up for sale immediately.”
Icahn’s letter threatens to seek the support of Family Dollar shareholders for his campaign to oust the company’s entire board of directors if Icahn is not granted three seats on the board, which would comprise a new committee tasked with exploring a sale of the company.
The letter came after Icahn met with Levine over dinner on June 18.
“Although we appreciated the cordial nature of our discussion at last night’s dinner, it was apparent that we have a strong difference of opinion as to the future of our company,” Icahn wrote in his June 19 letter.
Icahn disclosed earlier this month that he had taken a 9.4% stake in Family Dollar, making him the discount retailer’s largest shareholder.
In advocating that the Matthews, N.C.-based company immediately be put up for sale, Icahn wrote, “We believe there would be significant interest from strategic and financial buyers who could recognize massive synergies from an acquisition of the company.”
Family Dollar released a statement acknowledging that members of its board and management had met with Icahn. “As we expressed in the meeting, we are always open to constructively communicating with our shareholders, with the shared goal of enhancing value,” the statement said.
Family Dollar has made significant changes to its leadership team this year as the retailer seeks to fine-tune its business execution and improve its financial performance.
The company operates the nation’s second-largest dollar store chain, with 8,100 stores in 45 states and Washington, D.C. The stores offer food, health and beauty aids, apparel, and household items, most priced under $10.
Icahn, 78, has a long history of buying out or agitating for major changes at companies, including Viacom Inc., Revlon Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.