With PE Pressure, BJ’s Wholesale May Sell

BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., under pressure from potential hostile bidder Leonard Green & Partners, may put itself up for sale, Reuters reported. Reuters said that BJ’s had no timetable for a sale. Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners acquired a 9.5% stake in the company this past summer.

(Reuters) – BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc said it may put itself up for sale, under pressure from a private equity firm that may make a hostile bid.

BJ’s, whose shares rose 14 percent, said it has not made a decision to pursue any specific option and there is no timetable for the process.

Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners may make a hostile bid for BJ’s, the New York Post reported in December. In July, a fund run by Green said it had taken a 9.5 percent stake in the company.

In January, BJ’s said sales at stores open at least a year rose 0.3 percent, excluding gasoline sales, hurt by snow in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, where its stores are concentrated.

Last month, BJ’s, which competes with Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s Sam’s Club and Costco Wholesale Corp, announced plans to close five stores, restructure some operations and bring in fresh management in a move to strengthen the company.

Morgan Stanley has been hired as financial adviser, it said.

The wholesale club said it will not provide updates or make further comments about the process unless a specific action is recommended by a committee of independent directors or the process is concluded.

BJ’s shares were up 13.6 percent to $48.88 in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman; editing by John Wallace and Derek Caney)