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Sep 17, 9:31 AM EDT

Family Dollar opposes Dollar General overture

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MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) -- Family Dollar has told shareholders to reject an unsolicited, $9.1 billion takeover bid from its rival, Dollar General.

Family Dollar is currently trying to arrange a sale to another bargain chain, Dollar Tree Inc.

After repeated rejections by Family Dollar, Dollar General went hostile with its bid last week and took the same offer, $80 per share, directly to investors in Family Dollar.

Family Dollar accepted an $8.5 billion buyout offer from Dollar Tree Inc. in July. The bid includes $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for a total of $74.50 for each share held. Family Dollar has backed the bid, saying regulators are less likely to interfere over antitrust concerns.

In response, Dollar General has said that it is willing to divest up to 1,500 stores if the Federal Trade Commission requires it. The company also volunteered a $500 million reverse breakup fee if the deal hits any antitrust snags.

Family Dollar began looking for buyers as sales began sagging. The company has cut prices and closed stores to drive sales and lower its costs. In June, activist investor Carl Icahn urged the company to put itself up for sale.

Dollar General did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Shares of Family Dollar Stores Inc., based in Matthews, North Carolina, are trading close to all-time highs, as are shares of Dollar General Corp., based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

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