Trian Group, the private equity firm that holds a 7.9 percent stake in Family Dollar Stores Inc., is looking to buy the rest of the company and take it private for between $55 and $60 a share, valuing the retailer at about $7 billion.

This story first appeared in the February 16, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trian, headed by Nelson Peltz, disclosed that it contacted Howard Levine, Family Dollar’s chairman and chief executive officer, on Tuesday to discuss an acquisition of the shares it doesn’t currently own. Trian said it offered Levine the opportunity to participate in the transaction as an investor and urged the company to form a committee of outside directors to consider the proposal.

Trian currently owns just under 10 million shares of Family Dollar’s common stock, leaving about 116 million shares in the hands of other investors. Last month, Trian said, it added just over 1.1 million shares to its holdings for $52.2 million, or an average of $46.17 a share.

Shares of Family Dollar closed up 13 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $43.96 on Tuesday before rising more than 25 percent, to $55.50, in after-hours trading. The proposed takeover price represents a premium of between 25 percent and 36.4 percent to the company’s closing price on Tuesday.

Based in Charlotte, N.C., Family Dollar operates more than 6,800 stores in 44 states. The 52-week high for its shares is $51.81, reached on Dec. 9, and the corresponding low is $31.75, reached last Feb. 16. Revenues in the past four fiscal quarters exceed $8 billion.

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