Kohl’s explores acquisition of At Home Group

Customers leave a Kohl’s store on November 12, 2015 in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. department store operator Kohl’s has approached At Home to express interest in acquiring the U.S. home decor retail chain, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

A deal would help Kohl’s expand its customer base, which focuses on women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, and boost its presence in the home goods category, which has traditionally accounted for a small part of its business.

Kohl’s stock dipped nearly 2% late Wednesday, while shares of At Home surged more than 7%. 

Kohl’s recently started conversations with At Home to explore a deal, the sources said. At Home has been exploring a sale for the last three months, and is already in advanced deal negotiations with private equity firms, including Hellman & Friedman, the sources added.

There is no certainty that an offer from Kohl’s will materialize as a result of the preliminary discussions, and At Home may revert to trying to sell itself to a buyout firm, the sources added, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Kohl’s and At Home did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Hellman & Friedman declined to comment.

As of the end of trading on Tuesday, At Home Group had a market capitalization of $1.3 billion.

—CNBC’s Nadine El-Bawab contributed to this report. 

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