FINANCE

Rent-A-Center gets increased acquisition offer

BY Marianne Wilson

An interested party has upped the ante for Rent-A-Center.

Hours after the company announced it had ended its strategic and financial alternatives review and concluded a sale was not in its best interests, the retailer issued a statement in which it said it received an increased offer to acquire the company from one of the parties that has been involved in the process.

“The [offer] letter was not accompanied by equity commitment letters that would be necessary for the company to evaluate whether to enter into an agreement with an acquisition entity possessing no assets,” Rent-A-Center stated.

The rent-to-own retailer said its board would carefully consider any credible proposal with the assistance of its advisors.

Hours before issuing the statement, Rent-A-Center announced it had completed its strategic review and said it did not receive any proposals that met the objectives for a sale.

“Our Board conducted a thorough review of alternatives for our business, and unanimously determined that the execution of our strategic plan remains the best opportunity to deliver value to our stockholders compared to the alternatives available to us,” said J.V. Lentell, chairman, Rent-A-Center. “As demonstrated by our updated financial outlook and key operating metrics for April and May, the company’s strategic plan is already delivering substantial results and Rent-A-Center is well-positioned to generate value for all stockholders.”

In the same announcement, the retailer said it would “continue to regularly review opportunities to drive value on behalf of our stockholders.” It also noted that its cost reduction initiatives are significantly ahead of schedule, “and we expect to generate over $100 million in annual run-rate savings and realize approximately $70 million in savings in 2018.”

Rent-A-Center, which operates some 2,400 stores in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada, has been under pressure from its shareholders Engaged Capital and Marcato Capital to sell itself. It rejected buyout offers last summer.

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Starbucks launches prepaid card—with a rewards twist

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Corp. is making it easier for consumers to accrue points in its loyalty program.

The coffee giant and Chase are launching the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card, the first general purpose prepaid or debit card for which consumers can earn earn “Stars” for purchases outside of Starbucks. The new card is integrated directly into the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

“This reloadable Visa Prepaid card is a unique and modern option that gives customers one more way to earn more Stars and Rewards through everyday spend, in a way they haven’t been able to before,” said Matt Ryan, chief marketing officer for Starbucks.

The new card has no monthly, annual or reload fees. Cardholders will receive instant “Gold” status within the Starbucks loyalty program, along with other exclusive benefits. They will receive one star for every $10 on purchases made with card.

The prepaid card is the second co-branded product introduced by Starbucks and Chase this year. In February, the two companies introduced the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card.

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Walmart sues to stop former top exec from joining Amazon

BY CSA Staff

The battle between Walmart and Amazon has taken a personal turn.

The discounter sued its former chief tax officer, Lisa Wadlin, for violating her employment agreement by jumping to Amazon, reported Bloomberg. Walmart is seeking to stop Wadlin from taking the position at Amazon until May 2020.

In a lawsuit filed in the Delaware Chancery Court, Walmart alleges that Wadlin violated her employment agreement by agreeing to join Amazon. Walmart said is it looking to protect its rights to lawfully restrict “senior employee’s ability to work for its direct competitor.’’

To read more, click here.

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