And just like that, struggling Kohl’s is one of the hottest commodities on Wall Street.
Guggenheim retail analyst Robert Drbul said in a new research note on Friday Amazon could express interest in buying Kohl’s.
“Among the opportunities would be 1) customers, 2) categories, and 3) locations,” Drbul said. “For customers, according to Numerator, ~62% of Kohl’s shoppers are Prime members today, so there may be an incremental Prime opportunity for Amazon. Numerator data also shows that Kohl’s shoppers spent ~$100 billion at Walmart and Target in 2021 (ex-grocery), with $22 billion spent within a day of an Amazon purchase, illustrating plenty of addressable offline sales. Kohl’s customers also skews older, with 63% of shoppers >45, which we believe is much higher than Amazon today. From a category perspective, we believe that Amazon remains focused on building out its apparel business, as an example (est. ~10% of spend, based on our analysis of Numerator data), which is a majority of Kohl’s business.”
The analyst doesn’t believe an offer from Amazon is imminent. He reiterated a Buy rating on Kohl’s shares and offered up a $75 price target.
Any Amazon interest in Kohl’s wouldn’t be completely far-fetched.
Kohl’s inked a partnership to handle Amazon returns in 2017 in a bid to boost store traffic. The relationship has since expanded to encompass Amazon returns at all of Kohl’s 1,150-plus stores. Meanwhile, Amazon is reportedly keen on opening high-tech clothing stores.
The deal chatter comes as Kohl’s received a $9 billion take private offer from Starboard Value last week, according to a person familiar with the matter. Retail investing powerhouse Sycamore Partners is also reportedly kicking the tires on Kohl’s.
“Kohl’s Corporation today confirmed that it has received letters expressing interest in acquiring the company. The Kohl’s Board of Directors will determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. Shareholders are not required to take any action at this time,” Kohl’s said in a Jan. 24 press release.
Shares of Kohl’s have shot 21% higher to $60 year-to-date, giving the company a market cap of $8.3 billion.
Kohl’s fielding offers reflects the pressure it’s under from two noted activist investors.
Activist investor Macellum —who attacked the company in 2021 and went on to settle — said earlier this month Kohl’s has done nothing to drive shareholder value.
The activist investor is pushing for a board refresh and for Kohl’s to pursue strategic alternatives such as spinning off its e-commerce operations, selling the company or spinning off billions in dollars of real estate it owns.
Macellum thinks Kohl’s is easily worth $100 a share if it were to truly sign off on these value creating moves.
Besides Macellum, Engine Capital launched a new activist attack of its own on Kohl’s a few weeks ago. In its own sharply worded letter, Engine Capital demands Kohl’s considers a sale in its entirety or split off its online business (similar to what activist investor Jana is begging Macy’s to do).
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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