GNC is considering a sale and other strategic alternatives.
Andrew Burton 2015 Getty Images
By John Kell
May 2, 2016

Health and wellness retailer GNC on Monday said the company’s board was weighing strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, and has hired Goldman Sachs as a financial adviser to assist in the process.

“After careful consideration, including discussions with a range of shareholders, we believe it is an appropriate time to undertake a comprehensive review of the Company’s strategic and financial alternatives,” said Michael F. Hines, GNC’s Chairman, in a statement.

The decision to put itself up for sale comes less than a week after GNC reported first-quarter profit that missed Wall Street’s expectations as the vitamin business broadly is facing weakness as consumer shift to other wellness options. GNC’s quarterly profit and sales have missed analysts’ estimates in four of the past five quarters.

Notably, the stock has also had a disappointing run. When GNC went public in 2011, it was a stock market darling. The initial public offering, which took a few tries to succeed, ended up being the best performer in a year when offerings from LinkedIn (lnkd) and Dunkin’ Brands (dnkn) were also well received.

 

The stock ended 2011 just shy of $30 and climbed above $59 two years later, but slipped and now trades just shy of $26 – valuing the retailer at around $1.7 billion. GNC’s hot revenue growth cooled drastically – revenue increased from $2.08 billion in 2011 to $2.63 billion in 2013 but two years later, only grew to $2.64 billion. Net income has dropped the last two years.

Part of GNC’s review will also evaluate the company’s current plan, as well as other alternatives such as accelerating GNC’s refranchising strategies or potential partnerships.

“We are in the early stages of a broad review and will take the time we need to thoroughly evaluate our opportunities to achieve the best result for our shareholders, business partners, and associates,” Hines said.

GNC says there is no guarantee that the review will result in any specific actions and it declined to provide guidance as to how long it will take.

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