Alco Stores Inc., a general merchandise retailer specializing in providing a superior selection of essential products for everyday life in small-town America, and Argonne Capital Group LLC, a private investment firm based in Atlanta, have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Argonne will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Alco Stores’ common stock for $14 per share in cash. This price represents a premium of approximately 63 percent to Alco’s share price on July 24, the last trading day prior to Alco’s announcement of the transaction contemplated by the merger agreement. The cash price for Alco shares in the proposed transaction totals approximately $47 million.
The independent members of Alco Stores’ board of directors have unanimously approved the merger agreement and recommended that Alco Stores’ shareholders approve the transaction.
“Argonne Capital is very selective in its acquisition process and focuses on companies that have strong growth potential,” said Royce Winsten, Alco board chairman. “We are proud of Alco’s CEO Rich Wilson and his management team and how they have positioned the company for growth. We believe Argonne will help Alco grow and achieve the goals management and the board have established for the company.”
Wilson said, “Alco Stores has a unique model for providing an attractive merchandise selection and exceptional value to consumers in underserved communities in small-town America. Our associates are supportive of the new brands, variety and value we offer shoppers—as well as the operational improvements behind the scenes. Alco looks forward to partnering with Argonne, and we believe the support they will provide will accelerate the company’s plans for sustained growth.”
Michael Klump, Argonne founder and president, added, “We are excited about the opportunity to acquire Alco Stores, which is a strongly positioned business that has taken the right steps to move the company forward in today’s highly competitive retail environment. The acquisition of Alco would be a clear strategic fit within our existing portfolio of companies and real estate investments serving the dining and retail needs of everyday Americans.”
The merger, which is expected to close later this year, is subject to approval from Alco’s shareholders and other customary closing conditions.
Founded in 1901, Alco Stores Inc. is a broad-line retailer, primarily serving small, underserved communities across 23 states (see map above). The company has 213 Alco stores that offer both name brand and private label products. Alco has its distribution center in Abilene, Kan., and is in the process of moving its headquarters from Abilene to suburban Dallas, Texas.