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Dollar General sticks by proposed store divestiture figure for Family Dollar deal

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GOODLETTSVILLE, Tennessee — Dollar General said Thursday that it still believes it should not have to divest more than 1,500 stores to complete a deal with Family Dollar.

On Monday Family Dollar Stores Inc. CEO Howard Levine said in a letter to investors that the Federal Trade Commission has indicated that there may need to be 3,500 to 4,000 store divestures for a deal with Dollar General Corp. to go through, though that is not a final figure.

In contrast, Levine said that Family Dollar may be required by federal regulators to divest itself of only 310 stores if it's acquired by another suitor, Dollar Tree.

Matthews, North Carolina-based Family Dollar has rejected numerous approaches from Dollar General, the latest worth $9.1 billion in cash, in favor of an $8.5 billion cash-and-stock offer from Dollar Tree Inc. It has cited risks that the Dollar General deal would be blocked because of anti-monopoly rules.

Dollar General, which is based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, said Thursday that its talks with the FTC are ongoing.

On Wednesday Family Dollar Stores said that proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services was recommending that stockholders vote for Dollar Tree's buyout offer. A special shareholder meeting is scheduled for next week to vote on the issue.

Shares of Dollar General fell $1.75, or 2.6 percent, to $65.90 in premarket trading shortly before the market open while Dollar Tree edged up 61 cents to $67.98.

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