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Amazon Reportedly Interested In BJ's Wholesale

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Privately held retailer BJ's Wholesale Club is currently up for sale, and Amazon has expressed modest internal interest, The New York Post reported.

BJ's, owned by private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Leonard Green & Partners, is likely to fetch between $4 billion and $4.5 billion in a sale. The buyout firms had taken the membership-only warehouse retailer private in 2011 for $2.8 billion.

As per the report, the owners are planning for an outright sale of the retailer after scrapping plans for an initial public offering amid growing concerns over the retail sector.

BJ's has been interviewing bankers in order to begin a sale process, and the company plans to distribute sales books in a few weeks, The Post reported, citing sources.

BJ's, which operates 213 warehouse clubs and 130 gas stations across 15 states in the US, generates about $250 million a year from membership fees, and records $450 million in EBITDA.

The online retail giant, which has been exploring expansion into brick-and-mortar stores, especially for groceries, has recently discussed BJ's as an acquisition target, the report said.

Amazon has been experimenting recently with a line of convenience and grocery stores called Amazon Go. The company also offers its own online grocery delivery and ordering service, Amazon Fresh, which has been operating since 2007.

Bloomberg recently reported, citing a person familiar with the matter, that Amazon was seen as a possible bidder for Whole Foods Market Inc, and the company considered internally whether the organic-food chain would help its push into groceries.

Buyout firms including KKR, Bain Capital, TPG and Blackstone are also expected to take a look at BJ's, reports said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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