Rent-A-Center announced it has reached a settlement agreement with Vintage Capital Management and its financial partner B. Riley Financial over the breakup of their merger agreement last year.
Under the terms of the settlement, Vintage will pay $92.5 million in cash instead of the original merger’s break-up fee of $126.5 million. Rent-A-Center said it expects to receive pre-tax amount of about $80 million after expenses.
In June 2018, Vintage reached a deal to acquire Rent-A-Center for $15 per share, or more than $800 million, but Vintage owns a competing chain of rent-to-own retail stores, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, which made the deal subject to antitrust clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The merger deal allowed either side to terminate the deal if no party gave notice that it was extending it beyond a December 17, 2018 deadline. When no extension notice was given, Rent-A-Center terminated the deal on December 18.
Vintage challenged the termination and said Rent-A-Center was acting deceptively, but in March, a Delaware state court ruled that Rent-A-Center had been within its rights.
“We are pleased to finally conclude this matter, avoiding further litigation and providing certainty regarding payment of the termination fee,” Mitch Fadel, Rent-A-Center’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We look forward to turning our sole and undivided attention to executing our strategic plan focused on growing our business and enhancing value for our stockholders.”
In 2016, Rent-A-Center lost its place as the largest rent-to-own retailer to Aaron’s. It also closed 166 stores and cut the number of employees by 25%. In November 2017, Vintage offered to buy the company for $13 per share, or about $693 million as the company faced pressure from activist investors.
Rent-A-Center shares were up more than 8% in early trading Monday morning.
Rent-A-Center said the settlement payment would be made within 28 days.