FRESNO, Calif. — In an era that’s seen the rise of the national department store and the decimation of its regional competitors, it appeared that Gottschalks was destined to become the latest M&A casualty.
After the struggling West Coast chain initiated a strategic alternatives review late last year, analysts speculated the retailer could sell for upward of $240 million. Stock prices spiked this past spring and summer as rumors flew that retail investment firms and big-box behemoths like Wal-Mart were courting Gottschalks, a longtime retail icon in secondary markets like California’s Central Valley.
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