Over-the-counter trading in the stock of HomeClub, a fast-growing chain of home improvement centers based in Fullerton, was halted Monday amid speculation by industry analysts that the company may announce that it is being acquired by a larger firm.
Officials of HomeClub, a 28-month-old company that caters to do-it-yourselfers, would say only that the firm will make an announcement today. It made its initial public stock offering only two weeks ago, selling 2.3 million shares at $9 each. The stock has risen to $12 per share since Oct. 29.
But the company fell far short of its original goal to sell its initial offering at up to $17 a share. Still, some market analysts consider HomeClub an acquisition plum because of its high sales volume, strong management expertise and the low percentage of its stock that is owned by company insiders. The directors of the company, including founders Robert J. McNulty and George J. Handgis, own just 9.29% of its stock.
One possible suitor for HomeClub may be Jack Eckerd Corp., a Clearwater, Fla.-based owner of retail drug, department and video home entertainment stores throughout the Southeastern states. Officials of Eckerd, which currently owns 17.23% of HomeClub's 10 million outstanding shares, could not be reached for comment.