RUBIN, KIMCO MAY TEAM TO BUY CLOVER

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — The Rubin Organization, a Philadelphia-based real-estate company, is eyeing the Clover discount division of Strawbridge & Clothier and has teamed with Kimco Realty Corp. to bid on the 27 units, according to sources.
Alan Feldman, vice president of acquisitions at Rubin, declined to comment on the report Monday. If Kimco and Rubin acquire the discount chain, they could sell or lease units to various retailers. Kohl’s Corp. and Target Stores reportedly have shown interest.
Strawbridge’s board is expected to reconsider bids at its monthly meeting Wednesday, when the chain releases fourth-quarter results. Rubin made an unsuccessful play for several John Wanamaker stores in the Philadelphia market when Wanamaker’s parent, Woodward & Lothrop, was going out of business. In that effort, the real estate firm allied with Federated Department Stores, Strawbridge and Boscov’s Department Stores, but the group was outbid by May Department Stores and J.C. Penney.
Sources familiar with efforts to sell Strawbridge’s 13 Philadelphia-area department stores and the Clover division have said that a weak offer for the underperforming discount stores, plus a run-up in the company’s stock price have stalled the deal. May Co. reportedly wants most of the Strawbridge & Clothier stores; Federated is said to be a player for some locations.
Sources said efforts are under way to increase the bids, which reportedly are about 20 percent below what the Strawbridge family wants for the department stores and 30 percent below the asking price for Clover.

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