Rent-A-Center to Be Taken Private by Vintage

The $1.36 billion deal is "a compelling opportunity ... to enhance value and create a leader in the rent-to-own industry."
Matthew HellerJune 18, 2018

Rent-A-Center said Monday it had agreed to sell itself to Vintage Capital in a deal valued at $1.365 billion that adds another rent-to-own furniture company to the private-equity firm’s portfolio.

The announcement of the take-private deal came only a week after Rent-A-Center said it had concluded a strategic review process without receiving any satisfactory acquisition proposals.

Vintage, which originally offered $13 per share for Rent-A-Center last fall, made a $14-per-share proposal on June 12. Rent-A-Center said Monday its board had unanimously accepted an improved $15-per-share offer that represents a premium of 25% to the stock’s Friday close.

The board “is confident [the proposal] maximizes value for stockholders while delivering a significant and immediate cash premium,” CEO Mitch Fadel said in a news release.

“Vintage is a natural partner for Rent-A-Center given its deep knowledge of the rent-to-own industry, and we look forward to partnering with them to realize the full benefits of the transaction,” he added.

Rent-A-Center had been under pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital, which started pushing for a sale in 2016. After a proxy fight, shareholders voted in three Engaged nominees as board members last year.

Vintage is already the controlling shareholder of Buddy’s Home Furnishings, a fast-growing Florida-based competitor of Rent-A-Center that is the third largest U.S. rent-to-own chain with 330 stores, mostly in the South.

“We believe that the combination of Rent-A-Center, Buddy’s, and Vintage is a compelling opportunity to utilize our resources and expertise to enhance value and create a leader in the rent-to-own industry,” said Brian R. Kahn, managing member and founder of Vintage.

Rent-A-Center has been struggling with declining sales, losing its No. 1 spot in rent-to-own retail to Aaron’s in 2016. Over the past year, it closed 166 stores and now operates 2,287 U.S. stores and 123 stores in Mexico.

In trading Monday, Rent-A-Center shares jumped 22.5% to $14.75.

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