Dollar Tree expects to divest less than 300 stores to buy Family Dollar

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Discount store chain Dollar Tree Inc said it expects to divest fewer than 300 stores to buy larger rival Family Dollar Stores Inc, and had already identified potential buyers.

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Dollar Tree, which had 5,282 stores in the United States and Canada as of Nov. 1, said it would likely sign an agreement by the end of the month with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the number of stores it would have to divest.

The company said it expects to close the acquisition as soon as March after the FTC's Bureau of Competition gives its consent for store divestitures.

Potential buyers will be presented to the FTC for approval within a month, the company said.

Family Dollar on Monday asked its shareholders to vote for the deal at a shareholder meeting scheduled Jan. 22.

Dollar Tree was unwilling to agree to further adjournments of the vote, Family Dollar said in a letter to shareholders.

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"After two delays, we have been more than reasonable but have reached the end of our patience," Dollar Tree Chief Executive Bob Sasser said in a letter to Family Dollar.

Family Dollar has agreed to be bought by its smaller rival for $8.50 billion in cash and stock, rejecting a hostile $9.1 billion offer from Dollar General Corp citing antitrust concerns.

Family Dollar shareholders on Dec. 23 voted to adjourn voting on an agreed takeover by Dollar Tree. The meeting had been postponed from Dec. 11. (Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)