ECONOMY

WSJ News Exclusive | Hellman & Friedman Nears Deal to Buy At Home Group

Private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC is nearing a deal to buy At Home Group Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would take the home-decor retailer private.

A deal, which would value At Home Group in the mid-$30s a share, could be inked as soon as Thursday, assuming the two sides reach a final agreement, the people said. At Home shares were trading at $31.15 Wednesday afternoon, giving the Plano, Texas, company a market value of around $2 billion.

At Home sells furniture, décor and other home goods like bedding and seasonal decorations in stores around the country.

The stock tumbled along with much of the market in the early days of the pandemic but has since recovered, as homebound consumers spend more time fixing up their surroundings. Chief Executive Lewis Bird said on a recent earnings call that the company has benefited as consumers continue to decorate, organize their homes and spend more time in their kitchens.

Private-equity firms have been active lately, both selling companies they own and eyeing larger leveraged buyouts as they look to spend record levels of cash in a pricey market. They are also giving investors the opportunity to directly invest in target companies and avoid fund fees, which means the buyout firms have even more capacity for deals than it at first appears.

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