Shares of Macy's rose as much as 4 percent on Friday as an options analyst cited renewed speculation that the department store operator could be ripe for a takeover.
Macy's has been the subject of takeover rumors for a number of months now, which is one reason its share price is quite volatile, said Rebecca Engmann Darst, an equity options analyst for Interactive Brokers Group.
Darst cited renewed rumors on Friday that hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, who controls retailer Sears Holdings Corp, was interested in acquiring Macy's.
Today we saw a massive tickup in option volume, Darst added. Macy's options have been trading at about four times the average volume.
We don't comment on market activity or rumors, Macy's spokesman Jim Sluzewski said. A spokesman for Sears Holdings also said his company does not comment on rumors and speculation.
The Macy's takeover chatter emerged earlier this summer as the retailer was posting a string of disappointing sales at stores open at least a year. Rumored acquirers for Macy's, formerly known as Federated Department Stores, included Lampert as well as equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Earlier this month, the operator of Macy's and Bloomingdale's reported a better-than-expected 2.4 percent rise in August sales at stores open at least one full fiscal year, as it boosted promotions to spur sales at former May Department Stores it acquired in 2005.
Macy's shares rose $1.00, or 3.4 percent, to $30.25 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have fallen about 20 percent so far this year.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs)