New York—Shares of Saks Inc. rose in trading today as speculation escalated about potential rival suitors to buy the retailer.
In May, Saks reportedly hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on selling the company. The New York Post has reported that Starwood Capital Group LLC, a real estate investment firm headed by Barry Sternlicht, supposedly offered $17 and $18 a share for the parent of Saks and Off 5th. That’s purportedly in line with another bid from Hudson Bay Company.
The newspaper cited an unidentified source and said a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund may be a third bidder.
Saks posted $3.15 billion in revenue last year, below the $3.28 billion for the retail year ended in early 2008
In May Michael Binetti, analyst at UBS, said that Saks could fetch at least $16 a share if bought, giving the retailer a value of $2.4 billion, some 8.5 times great than its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Meanwhile, David Kuntz, analysts at Standard & Poors Rating Services, wrote in a research report, “In our view, it is likely that U.S. department store Saks will be acquired.”
Should that occur, Standard & Poor’s will probably downgrade the company’s ratings since its credit profit could weaken due to increased debt.
The rating agency current rates Saks Inc. at double-B and expects to decide about a downgrade in the next three months.