NEW YORK — Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners is considering buying out BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc.
Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners is considering buying out BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm reported holding 5.1 million shares in BJ’s, a 9.5% stake, which it said is undervalued.
Leonard Green said it will talk to BJ’s management about such possibilities for increasing shareholder value as taking the chain private or new financings, including mortgage or sale-leaseback transactions.
Leonard Green, which specializes in leveraged buyouts, has a stake in Whole Foods Market Inc., and it led the buyouts of Sports Authority Inc. and Petco Animal Supplies Inc.
BJ’s reported in the spring that its earnings for the first quarter ended May 1 increased a higher than expected 7.4%, driven by gains in sales and membership fees. It also boosted its earnings projection for the year to a range of $136.9 million to $141.9 million.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Adrianne Shapira said the filing "adds credibility" to buyout rumors that have long swirled around BJ’s, and upgraded her rating on the stock to "neutral" from "sell."
Jeffries & Co.’s Daniel Binder boosted his rating on the stock to "buy" from "hold," saying a buyout could come at a price of $55 per share.