Whitehall reviews buyout offer

Whitehall Jewellers, Inc. said it is reviewing the unsolicited tender offer made by Newcastle Partners, L.P. for all of the outstanding shares of the company’s common stock for $1.20 net per share, including certain conditions such as replacement financing for the company’s bridge term loan and refinancing of or consent under the company’s senior credit facility.

Whitehall’s board of directors set a deadline of Dec. 16 to notify stockholders on whether it recommends accepting or rejecting the offer, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The board may also opt to take no position.

In the meantime, the Chicago-based retail jeweler urges its stockholders to take no action on Newcastle’s offer. Newcastle is a company shareholder.

Whitehall currently operates 389 stores in 38 states (although it has plans to close “a number of stores in the near term”) in regional and super regional shopping malls under the names Whitehall Co. Jewellers, Lundstrom Jewelers, and Marks Bros. Jewelers.