Vintage Capital makes new, lower bid for Rent-A-Center

(Reuters) - Vintage Capital on Friday offered to buy Rent-A-Center Inc RCII.O for about $693 million, a week after the furniture retailer decided to explore strategic options under pressure from two activist investors.

The private equity firm’s offer of $13 per Rent-A-Center share is lower than the $15 per share it offered in July and represents a premium of 31 percent to the stock’s Thursday closing price. Rent-A-Center had rejected the first proposal.

Shares of Plano, Texas-based Rent-A-Center rose nearly 11 percent to $10.99 on Friday.

The furniture retailer said it will review the non-binding proposal and all other strategic options with its financial and legal advisors as it had announced last month.

Rent-A-Center has been pressured to sell itself, first by activist hedge fund Engaged Capital and later by Marcato Capital, which argued that an overhaul of the struggling company could be best achieved in the hands of private owners.

Last week, Rent-A-Center Chairman Steven Pepper resigned over disagreements with the board’s decision to explore strategic options.

The company had last month reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss in the third quarter.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar