The owner of supplement retailer General Nutrition Companies is currently weighing up at least two bids for the business, a newspaper report revealed today.
The Netherlands-based Royal Numico is to receive a bid from J.W. Childs and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, and another from Leon Black's Apollo Advisors, according to the story in the New York Post.
And leading supplement manufacturer NBTY, which has already bought Rexall Sundown from Numico earlier this year, may also place a bid, although it has been wavering over whether to submit a final offer, said the paper's sources.
Numico has discussed the possible sale of the specialty retailer since announcing a new strategy at the end of last year. However, CEO van Bennink claimed the firm would try to turn around the business, hit hard by the rapid decline in ephedra sales, before finally putting the unit up for sale in June this year.
Final bids for GNC, due Friday, are expected to be as much as $700 million or more, according to the New York Post.
GNC has more than 5,300 stores worldwide and strong brand value, but it was badly hit by the rapid decline in ephedra sales. First half results at Numico showed sales at the retailer, excluding ephedra products and substitutes, were slightly up but the nutrition group is still in considerable debt. Getting rid of another US unit could ease its path back to profit.