Rumours that vitamin retailer GNC is up for sale are causing speculation in the financial press after the New York Post published a story, hinting that initial bids are to start tomorrow.
Shares in parent company Netherlands-based Numico climbed up to 10 per cent today, according to Reuters, although a Numico spokesperson apparently denied the firm was involved "in any bidding process", in a later Reuters report.
GNC is the US' largest supplement chain but it has been struggling under Numico ownership, begun in 1999. In November last year, Numico CEO Jan Bennink announced a major overhaul for the group, including the sale of Rexall Sundown, although a GNC sale was put on hold at that point. The company has since sold its US supplement business Unicity Network to an American investment company, Activated Holdings and some of its smaller European operations.
The New York Post claimed that Numico recently instructed investment bank Goldman Sachs 'to run a formal auction for the sale of the vitamin retailer'. Initial bids for GNC are expected tomorrow, according to the report.
Potential buyers suggested by the paper included its past owner, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and the NBTY-owned Nature's Bounty, the supplements maker that runs the Vitamin World chain.
Last month the company announced that board member Bill Watts was to step down from the board as he had expressed a potential interest in buying the GNC chain in partnership with a US venture capital firm. However no further decision has yet been taken and Numico has released no additional information.