Arkhouse & Brigade Capital Management Approach Macy’s with $5.8 Billion Offer

Macy's Inc. has received a $5.8 billion buyout offer from an investor group led by Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Management.

The proposed bid, which translates to $21 per share, represents a 32.4 percent premium over Macy's closing price on November 30th. The iconic retailer has struggled in recent years, experiencing a relatively steady decline since 2015, when shares peaked at $71.

With estimates of Macy's real estate holdings ranging from $6 billion to as high as $8 billion—specifically citing its Herald Square property, which could be valued between $3 billion to $4 billion—the $8 billion acquisition offer, including debt, suggests investors are focused as much on Macy's hard assets as its actual business.

The potential acquirers could seek to unlock value with an outright sale of the real estate, or could opt for a sale-leaseback strategy.

There's also speculation that a deal could include the spin-off of Macy's higher-end brands Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury. Bloomingdale's has mirrored department store peers with declining year-over-year revenue, though its upscale offering has proven more resilient than the lower-tier Macy's unit. Bluemercury, the company's cosmetics business, has grown its topline in recent quarters.

Per the initial Wall Street Journal report, the Arkhouse-led group has signaled a willingness to improve their offer, subject to positive early diligence. They have yet to line up financing, though have presented a letter of support from an investment bank. With financing hurdles blocking attempted takeovers for both Kohl's and Nordstrom in recent years, the Macy's package could prove a sticking point.

The offer also comes in a transition period for Macy's, which is preparing for the February retirement of CEO Jeff Gennette, to be replaced with longtime exec Tony Spring.

Sam Hillier

Sam Hillier is a reporter at Transacted covering private equity and investment banking. He previously spent time as an investment professional focused on direct buyouts, as well as an earlier strategic advisory stint.