Feb 7 Aaron's Inc shareholder Vintage
Capital Management said it offered to acquire the electronics
and furniture rental chain in a deal valued at about $2.3
billion, its fourth attempt to buy the company in three years.
The private equity firm offered $30.50 per share, a premium
of 12.8 percent to Aaron's Thursday closing price.
The company's shares rose to $32.27 in early trading on
Friday, indicating that some investors expect a higher bid.
Aaron's was not immediately available for comment on the
deal. However, on a post earnings call with analysts, executives
said "they will evaluate (the offer), or whatever."
Aaron's, which offers customers the option to rent a product
and then eventually buy it, also reported fourth-quarter revenue
that missed analysts' average estimate, hurt by weak consumer
The company lowered its sales and earnings estimates last
month due a drop in customer visits at its stores.
The company said it planned to slow down the expansion of
its Aaron's and HomeSmart stores until business at existing
Atlanta-based Aaron's has more than 2,115 company-operated
and franchised stores in the United States and Canada.
In a letter to Aaron's board on Friday, Vintage Capital said
it had privately offered to acquire the company three times
since 2011, but was "summarily ignored."
"During this time, Aaron's stock has performed poorly while
general stock market indices have appreciated significantly,"
the private equity firm wrote in the letter, which was made
public in a regulatory filing. ()
Vintage Capital also holds a majority stake in Buddy's Home
Furnishings, another rent-to-own business operating in the
Vintage is one of Aaron's top 3 stakeholders, along with
institutional management firms Fidelity Management & Research Co
and T.Rowe Price Associates Inc.
The latest move comes almost a year after the private equity
firm sought to acquire Anaren Inc, a manufacturer of
Aaron's shares, which have risen 3.2 percent in a year to
Thursday's close, were up 12 percent at $30.25 in late morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.