Wednesday, July 13, 2005

May Shareholders OK Takeover by Federated

By DAN SEWELL (AP Business Writer)

CINCINNATI - May Department Stores Inc. shareholders approved the company's takeover by rival Federated Department Stores Inc. on Wednesday in a $11 billion deal that will bring Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor and Filene's all under the same corporate umbrella.

Federated shareholders are expected to vote on the merger at a meeting in Cincinnati later Wednesday. May shareholders voted at a meeting in New York.

The companies are looking to have the merger in place in time for the holiday shopping season.

"We are expecting it to close in the third quarter, between August and October," Federated spokeswoman Jamie Carr said Tuesday.

The deal will create a formidable retail force with nearly 1,000 department stores and $30 billion in annual sales. St. Louis-based May would become a Federated division.

Even after shareholder approval, the deal will require Federal Trade Commission approval.

Burt Flickinger III, managing director for New York-based consultants Strategic Resource Group, said the two companies offer "a very responsible retail plan. ... They should get complete regulatory approval."

Federated has about 112,000 employees and more than 450 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores in 34 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. May - operator of Lord & Taylor, Famous-Barr, The Jones Store, Filene's and other regional department stores - has 132,000 employees in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Some stores would be rebranded as Macy's after the merger becomes final.

The extended national scope is expected to help Federated better compete with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and upscale retail merchants.

Flickinger said prospects for the combination of the companies' top stores "will be phenomenal."

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