NEW YORK -- Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $8.5 billion.
Stockholders of Family Dollar Stores will receive $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for each share they own. The companies put the value of the transaction at $74.50 per share, which is an approximately 23 percent premium to Family Dollar's Friday closing price of $60.66.
Family Dollar stockholders will own somewhere between 12.7 percent and 15.1 percent of Dollar Tree's outstanding common shares at closing.
Core customers for bargain stores and major retailers like Wal-Mart have been among the hardest hit by the recession and its aftermath because of job instability.
Family Dollar has struggled and has attempted to reinvigorate sales by lowering prices on almost 1,000 basic items. It's cut some jobs and shuttered underperforming stores. The company had been conducting a strategic review since the winter, and investor Carl Icahn urged Family Dollar last month to put itself up for sale.
Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser said Monday that the deal will give Dollar Tree more than 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. That is nearly three times as many stores as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., though Wal-Mart's square footage is still greater.
The combined Dollar Tree-Family Dollar chain will have sales of more than $18 billion and Sasser says that the transaction will create a more diverse company with an enhanced geographic reach.
Dollar Tree stores sell products for $1 or less, while Family Dollar's pricing is much broader.
Dollar Tree will continue to operate under the existing Dollar Tree, Deals, and Dollar Tree Canada store signs. It will keep the Family Dollar brand as well.
Family Dollar Chairman and CEO Howard Levine will still lead those stores and report to Sasser. He will join Dollar Tree's board.
Dollar Tree plans to finance the deal with available cash, bank debt and bonds.
The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close by early next year. It still needs approval from Family Dollar shareholders.
Shares of Family Dollar Stores Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, surged more than 21 percent before the opening bell. Shares of Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, Virginia, are up more than 3 percent.