Levine urges Family Dollar shareholders to back Dollar Tree deal

Family Dollar Stores CEO Howard Levine is continuing to urge shareholders to back the Matthews-based retailer’s proposed sale to rival Dollar Tree, saying the deal is “virtually certain” to receive regulatory clearance.

In a letter sent to stockholders Friday, Levine said stockholders should back the $8.5 billion sale to Dollar Tree over a hostile, $9.1 billion bid from Dollar General, which he said is unlikely to be completed under its current terms because of antitrust concerns.

Family Dollar last week delayed a stockholder vote on the Dollar Tree sale until Jan. 22 because the company lacked enough votes to approve the deal, leaving one of the Charlotte region’s best-known retailers in limbo for another month.

Tennessee-based Dollar General hasn’t backed down, extending its offer to buy Family Dollar until the end of January.

The Federal Trade Commission hasn’t said whether it would block Dollar General’s bid on antitrust concerns or how many of the combined company’s almost 20,000 stores would have to be sold off to competitors.

In his letter to shareholders, Levine reiterated that Virginia-based Dollar Tree has committed to divest “all stores necessary or advisable” to receive FTC approval.

Dollar General could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday, but last week the retailer said it would continue to cooperate with the FTC to receive clearance for the deal.

Family Dollar was founded in 1959 in Charlotte by Howard Levine’s father, Leon Levine, now a prominent local philanthropist. The company has grown to more than 8,000 stores in 46 states, and about 1,400 corporate employees work at its Matthews headquarters.

The Jan. 22 shareholder meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte.