GNC Holdings' (GNC) announcement on Monday that it was conducting a strategic review of its business opens up a whole host of possibilities for the Pittsburgh-based retailer of nutritional supplements.
The review was likely triggered by the plunge in GNC stock of almost 30% to $25.32 on Thursday after the company reported that same store sales fell 2.6% in the first quarter. Thursday's decline was even more stunning in light of the fact that the 52-week-high for GNC was more than $51 per share.
GNC shares, however, were up more than 6% in mid-day trading on Tuesday to $25.89 on the news it hired investment bank Goldman, Sachs (GS) as its financial adviser on the review.
One of GNC's main options would likely be to sell to a private equity firm.
The retailer currently has a market cap of close to $1.8 billion. Add in debt of approximately $1.45 billion and subtract cash of nearly $60 million from the retailer's balance sheet, and the company has an enterprise value of close to $3.2 billion.
That works out to about 7.1 times the company's projected adjusted Ebitda for its current fiscal year of around $450 million, according to data provided by Bloomberg. And that is close to the kind of valuation private equity firms have historically found enticing.
Retail more broadly has had its struggles, as GNC's recent quarterly results help to illustrate.
However, unlike apparel retail, for example, the sale of items such as food and supplements have proven to be more stable over time.