Westborough, Mass. - BJ's Wholesale Club has agreed to be acquired by a group of equity investors for about $2.8 billion in cash.
The No. 3 wholesale club announced in February that it had hired Morgan Stanley to help explore and evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale.
The buyers are Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., which acquired a 9.5 percent stake in the company in June 2010, and funds advised by CVC Capital Partners. The deal, which was unanimously approved by the retailer's board, will deliver shareholders a 7 percent premium over yesterday's closing price of BJ's shares.
The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2011 subject to shareholder approval and regulatory approvals.
BJ's president/CEO Laura Sen said the regional chain "will benefit from the continued execution of our business plan and the significant retail expertise of our new partners ... as well as from continued investments in our clubs, our people and technology, and the future of our business."
BJ's was founded in New England in 1984 and has since expanded to 190 stores in 15 Eastern states.
Leonard Green & Partners also has investments in such retail chains as J. Crew, Jo-Ann Stores, Whole Foods Market, Neiman Marcus Group, Petco Animal Supplies, Leslie's Poolmart, The Sports Authority, The Container Store, Tourneau, David's Bridal, Jetro Cash & Carry and The Tire Rack.