• Dollar Tree buying Family Dollar for $8.5 billion

    By: Scott Wickersham


    MATTHEWS, N.C. - Months of faltering sales, growing competition and pressure from investors, locally-owned Family Dollar is being sold.

    Dollar Tree's buyout of Family Dollar is an $8.5 billion deal that could create the largest dollar-store chain in the country.

    Eyewitness News anchor Scott Wickersham spent all day uncovering the local winners and losers from the major sale.

    Dollar Tree is offering Family Dollar shareholders $60 per share plus a stake in the new company.

    Leaders in Matthews, who just lost Harris-Teeter to Kroger are waiting to see how this latest merger will affect them.

    “It’s a great loss but we understand this is a business decision,” said Hazen Blodgett, Matthews town manager.

    Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor said he hopes the Dollar Tree business model keeps the large distribution center in Matthews.

    Dollar Tree's nearest distribution store is 250 miles away in Savannah.

    Their CEO said Monday any change that can save money is on the table and it may go beyond jobs.

    The founders of Family Dollar, the Levine family, have been a big supporter of local arts, education and philanthropy.

    It is sad when we lose jobs,” said Jane Thomas, a retail expert from Winthrop University.

    She said shoppers could see an upside.

    The larger company can offer better selection and prices.

    “I think in the start of 2015, there will be some big sales promotions to cause an uptick in sales,” Thomas said.

    Shareholders and government regulators still have to approve the deal and if that happens, the two companies could be merged in early 2015.

    Current Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine would have to answer to Bob Sasser, head of Dollar Tree.

    Activist investor Carl Icahn pressured the Levine Family Dollar to sell over the past couple of months.

    Icahn is known for buying large stakes in companies then splitting them up and selling them off.

    In this case, Icahn acquired 9.4 percent of Family Dollar.

    He now stands to earn an estimated profit up to $174 million from the sale.

    Dollar Tree has more than 5,000 stores and an annual revenue of $7.8 billion.

    Meanwhile, Family Dollar has 8,200 stores and an annual revenue of 10.4 billion.

    The combined companies could overtake the leader Dollar General which has more than $11,000 stores and annual revenue of $17.5 billion.

    News of a possible sale sent Family Dollar stocks soaring Monday.

    When the final bell rang, it was trading at $75.74 cents per share.

    That's up more than $15 or nearly 25 percent on the day.

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