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Family Dollar rejects Dollar General’s $9.7 billion bid

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Family Dollar has rejected a $9.7 billion takeover bid by Dollar General, saying the board has opted to stick with a less lofty offer by Dollar Tree amid concerns about antitrust issues.

“Our Board reviewed, with our advisors, all aspects of Dollar General’s proposal and unanimously concluded that it is not reasonably likely to be completed on the terms proposed,” Family Dollar Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Levine said in a statement. “Accordingly, our Board rejects Dollar General’s proposal and reaffirms its support for the pending merger with Dollar Tree.”

Family Dollar (FDO) said its board determined, after consultation with its financial and legal advisors who have conducted an “extensive antitrust analysis,” that the Dollar General (DG) proposal “fails to satisfy this requirement. Dollar General had said it was prepared to shed up to 700 stores to satisfy regulators’ concerns, while Dollar Tree foresaw shedding up to 500. The Family Dollar statement came shortly after Dollar Tree (DLTR) issued its highly anticipated quarterly report on Thursday — and declined to escalate its $8.5 billion bid for Family Dollar after rival Dollar General swooped in with a higher offer.

In a separate statement, Dollar General said it was “disappointed” by the decision, adding it has done its own antitrust analysis and believes that the transaction could be completed as proposed.

“We remain willing to share this analysis with Family Dollar and its counsel and are confident that we will be able to quickly and efficiently resolve any potential antitrust issues,” Dollar General Rick Dreiling said.

Some speculate Levine’s future role at Family Dollar is a factor. He would obtain a board seat and have a role at Dollar Tree if that deal was successful, but Dollar General hasn’t made any public promises about his future if its deal were to succeed.