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Supervalu Inc. (SVU), the third-largest U.S. grocery store chain, posted its biggest two-day rise in two months as investors and analysts view the company as a potential acquisition target.
Shares in the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based company have jumped 11 percent in the past two days to $5.11, for the biggest rise since April 11, helping pare its decline to 37 percent this year.
While Supervalu is mired in its worst sales slump (SVU) as rivals take a larger share of the market, its valuation stands at 3.97 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. That valuation could lure buyout firms and command a 50 percent premium for the company, Barclays Plc (BARC) analysts said on June 11.
The grocery chain will turn a full-year net profit for the first time in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Asset sales could also help a buyer pay down Supervalu’s debt and boost returns, according to Highmark Capital Management Inc., which oversees about $17 billion.
Supervalu is now the most appealing leveraged buyout candidate among the three largest supermarket chains in America, ahead of Kroger Co. (KR) and Safeway Inc. (SWY), according to Meredith Adler, a New York-based analyst for Barclays. A buyer could pay a 50 percent premium for the company and still earn a return exceeding 40 percent, according to Adler’s analysis.
On the day of Adler’s report, Supervalu’s shares closed at $4.06.
Jeff Swanson, a Supervalu spokesman, declined to comment by telephone today on whether the company is open to a sale or has been approached by any buyers.
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