March 7, 2018 / 9:54 PM / in 3 months

Rent-A-Center in talks with possible buyers, cuts 250 jobs

(Reuters) - Rent-A-Center Inc is in active talks with multiple parties for a possible buyout, the rent-to-own furniture retailer said on Wednesday, while also announcing 250 layoffs at its Plano, Texas headquarters.

Rent-A-Center, which has been under pressure from its largest shareholder Engaged Capital to sell itself, has previously rejected buyout offers. Another activist investor, Marcato Capital, has also pushed the company to sell itself.

Last month, Rent-A-Center said it would nominate an independent director to its board recommended by Engaged.

Rent-A-Center has been exploring strategic options since October last year. Its top management, including its chief executive, chairman and chief operating officer have all stepped down since then.

The company’s shares rose 8.5 percent to $8.30 in after-hours trading. Rent-A-Center was valued at about $409 million as of Wednesday.

The job cuts, along with other cost-cutting measures, are expected to save the company $28 million annually.

Rent-A-Center, which has seen eight straight quarters of falling sales, had about 18,300 employees, according to its latest annual report.

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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