The Pantry Puts Itself on Auction Block

CARY, N.C. — The Pantry Inc. could find itself with a new owner in the very near future.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the operator of Kangaroo Express convenience stores has quietly hung a for-sale sign on itself. Citing people familiar with the move, the newspaper reported that The Pantry hired an investment bank to run an auction, with bids due last week.

The winning bidder could be announced within days. It is unclear who the buyer may be.

While no price tag was attached to a possible sale, the Journal said based on the company's market value of $685 million at Dec. 16's closing, an acquisition of The Pantry could be valued at more than $850 million.

This news comes nine months after the company's shareholders voted to elect three new members to its board of directors proposed by Concerned Pantry Shareholders (CPS), a dissident group led by Houston investment group JCP Investment Management LLC and Connecticut investment group Lone Star Value Management LLC, as CSNews Online previously reported.

The move also comes at a time when the Cary-based retailer has been making "gradual" progress in its turnaround strategy. During the company's fourth-quarter earnings call earlier this month, President and CEO Dennis Hatchell said The Pantry is developing the plans its needs over the next three to five years to be successful. However, he acknowledged that the retailer is only "about 25 percent of the way there. We have a long way to go."

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