ShopKo going private in buyout, Duncan to leave

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- ShopKo Stores has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by a Minneapolis-based private equity firm for slightly more than $1 billion, including debt.

The agreement, with buyout company Goldner, Hawn, Johnson & Morrison, will pay $24 in cash for each outstanding share of ShopKo common stock. The deal will assume about $330 million in debt. The net transaction price is about $715 million.

ShopKo president Sam Duncan has indicated he will not remain with the company following the transaction close. Chairman Jack Eugster, who is an investor in the buyout, has resigned his position as chairman and will step down from board committee positions in order to avoid any conflicts of interest, according to spokesman John Vigeland. Eugster will retain his board seat during the transaction, however, and will become chairman and acting CEO following the close, until a new president and CEO is named.

Other members of the retailer’s current management are expected to remain with the company and may take equity positions.

GHJ&M, whose portfolio currently numbers eight firms, has no current retail holdings. It was outbid several years ago in an effort to acquire Elder-Beerman department stores. Its investment outlook focuses on middle market companies located in the Midwest.

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