Family Dollar says state attorneys general to investigate Dollar General deal

Family Dollar says various state attorneys general have notified the Matthews-based discount retailer that they plan to investigate the competitive effects of a takeover bid from Dollar General.

The disclosure, made Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, comes as the retailer’s board seeks to have the company be acquired by Dollar Tree instead of by larger rival Dollar General.

In the regulatory filing, Family Dollar did not say how many, or which, state attorneys general have told the company they will investigate the Dollar General deal for potential effects on competition. The Federal Trade Commission is also probing the issue, according to the filing.

Certain state attorneys general are also investigating the deal with Dollar Tree over antitrust concerns, the filing said.

Family Dollar shareholders must vote on any deal. A Dollar General spokeswoman declined to comment when reached Monday. A spokesman for Family Dollar declined to comment beyond the regulatory filing.

In July, Family Dollar agreed to be acquired by Dollar Tree for $74.50 worth of cash and stock. After that announcement, Family Dollar rejected multiple buyout offers from Dollar General.

Dollar General launched a $9.1 billion hostile bid to acquire Family Dollar earlier this month. Although Dollar General’s overall offer is roughly $640 million higher than Dollar Tree’s, Family Dollar’s board has said an acquisition by Dollar General is sure to be blocked by regulators over antitrust concerns.

Family Dollar’s decision to be acquired by Dollar Tree comes as Family Dollar’s performance has lagged that of its competitors.

In April, Family Dollar announced plans to close hundreds of stores and lower prices in a move to improve its bottom line. That same month, Family Dollar announced plans to lay off more than 100 workers in Matthews, 6 percent of the company’s headquarters workforce.

On Monday, Family Dollar unveiled a new strategy as it seeks to better compete: matching competitors’ prices.

Under the “Ad Match Promise” program, the retailer will match prices when customers bring in a printed ad from a local competitor. Family Dollar will also match “buy one get one” offers, as long as the price of the item is specified in the ad.

The “Ad Match Promise” program will be available to customers starting Tuesday.