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Tax franchise to acquire The Vitamin Shoppe

Liberty Tax's acquisition of The Vitamin Shoppe is part of the tax company's plan to grow franchise-centric businesses. Here are highlights of the deal.

Liberty Tax Inc. (OTC PINK: TAXA) (“Liberty Tax”), the parent company of Liberty Tax Service and Buddy’s Home Furnishings and Vitamin Shoppe Inc. (NYSE: VSI) (“The Vitamin Shoppe”), an omnichannel, specialty retailer of nutritional products, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Liberty Tax will acquire The Vitamin Shoppe in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $208 million. The Vitamin Shoppe shareholders will receive $6.50 per share, which represents a premium of 43% to its closing share price on Aug. 7, 2019, and a premium of approximately 59% to the 30-day volume weighted average price for the period ended on Aug. 7, 2019.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to approval by The Vitamin Shoppe’s shareholders, expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as well as other customary closing conditions.

Liberty Tax intends to finance the transaction with up to approximately $170 million in debt financing and a combination of available cash and/or through the issuance of common stock of Liberty Tax. In connection with the execution of the merger agreement, Liberty Tax entered into debt commitment letters with institutional lenders and an equity commitment letter with an affiliate of Vintage Capital Management, LLC.

Pat Cozza, an independent member of the board of directors of Liberty Tax, stated, “We have great confidence in the value of The Vitamin Shoppe, its ongoing strategic reinvention plan and the outstanding efforts of The Vitamin Shoppe leadership team and associates. We believe that The Vitamin Shoppe is an excellent fit for Liberty Tax’s previously announced strategy to acquire franchise-centric businesses, and demonstrates the commitment of Liberty Tax, its board and management team to implement the previously announced strategic transformation of Liberty Tax.”

Sharon Leite, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe, stated, “Following a careful and disciplined assessment, the board of directors has concluded that the acquisition proposal from Liberty Tax maximizes value for our shareholders. The transaction also delivers long-term benefits to our associates, customers and business partners. It provides an immediate premium to our current shareholders and aligns The Vitamin Shoppe with a partner that shares our strategic vision to unlock the further potential of The Vitamin Shoppe as a leader in health and wellness. We are committed to transforming into an agile, customer-first organization that differentiates our brand through best-in-class quality, innovation and expertise across our products and services.”

Under the direction of its board of directors, Liberty Tax intends to continue to evaluate the acquisition of franchise-oriented or complementary businesses, including businesses that are not presently subject to franchising arrangements but that have the potential to be franchised in the future. The Vitamin Shoppe transaction represents the continued evolution of the business model of Liberty Tax, and follows the recent acquisition of Buddy’s Home Furnishings, which was completed in July 2019. In recognition of this new strategic focus, Liberty Tax previously announced its intention to change its name to Franchise Group, Inc. Liberty Tax anticipates that its name change will become effective in the third or fourth quarter of 2019.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal counsel to The Vitamin Shoppe and BofA Merrill Lynch acted as its financial advisor. Troutman Sanders LLP acted as legal counsel to Liberty Tax.

Source: The Vitamin Shoppe

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