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    Dollar General to be Acquired by KKR Affiliates for More Than $7 Billion

    GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. -- Dollar General Corp. agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) for $6.92 billion, plus assumed debt of $380 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The acquisition comes shortly after the company named a president after a two-year vacancy and announced it would close 400 of its more than 8,200 stores, revamp others and improve the chain's merchandise mix, the report stated. Many industry experts have warned that dollar stores were becoming a significant competitor to c-stores as they've expanded at a breakneck pace, with many of the leading players adding more coolers and freezers for beverages and other consumable products.

    "Our Board of Directors firmly believes that this is the right transaction for our shareholders, employees and customers," David A. Perdue, chairman and CEO of Dollar General said in a written statement. "Going forward, employees will benefit from the continuity of a solid business plan and new investments in the future of the business. Our customers will continue to enjoy the convenience, value and great service that they've come to expect from Dollar General over our proud 68-year history."

    In December, Dollar General reported a fiscal third-quarter net loss of $5.3 million, compared with net income of $64.4 million for the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter rose to $2.21 billion from $2.06 billion in 2005, but missed analysts' forecast of $2.24 billion.

    The agreement is expected to close in the third quarter after approval of shareholders, customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction contains a $225 million termination fee. Shareholders of the discount chain will receive $22 in cash for each share, a 31 percent premium over Dollar General's Friday closing share price of $16.78, and a 29 percent premium over the stock's average closing price during the previous 30 trading days.

    Lazard and Lehman Brothers acted as financial advisers for the transaction for Dollar General. Goldman Sachs was the financial adviser to KKR.

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