Collective Brands Weighing Final Takeover Offers?

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Topeka, KA—Shares of Collective Brands Inc., owner of Payless ShoeSource, continued to rise today amid speculation that the company is in the final throes of completing a takeover deal.

The footwear and accessories company saw its shares rise to $20.29 in early trading today. Collective Brands share are up about 34% since the beginning of the year.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported the company was weighing two offers: one by E-Land Group of South Korea, and the other, by group lead by Wolverine World Wide Inc. and Golden Gate Capital.

Deal to Be Announced Next Week?

Reportedly one of the bids would value the company at about $2 billion, including debt. Collective Brands now has a market value of about $1.17 billion, with an estimated $610 million of debt as of Jan. 28.

Last year, Collective Brands announced it was undergoing a strategic review that included closing stores. Perella Weinberg Partners LP and Kurt Salmon were hired to help it explore options. In February, the company posted wider losses and higher costs cut into its profit.

Collective Brands is also said to be considering offers from several private-equity funds for “parts of the company.” According to the Wall Street Journal, if the Golden Gate and Wolverine group wins the auction for the company, they would split up the brands, with Wolverine taking the Airwalk, Saucony and Vision footwear brands.

The other bidder, E-Land is a closely held company comprises of fashion brands stores, discount malls and department stores mainly in South Korea. The Maeil Business Newspaper reported in March that E-Land has a target of $5.3 billion in footwear sales by 2015. Right now, about 18% of E-Land’s total sales come from outside South Korea.

“A deal could be announced within a week, said one person familiar with the matter,” the Journal reported.