Engine Capital urges Kohl’s to consider e-commerce separation

U.S.-based hedge fund Engine Capital LP is urging Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) to consider a sale of the company or a separation of its e-commerce business, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The activist investor, which owns a roughly 1% Kohl’s stake, wants the department-store chain to examine the two alternatives to improve its lagging stock price, the report said, citing a letter sent to Kohl’s board on Sunday.

Engine argues that the company has underperformed both the S&P 500 and other retailers in recent years, the report said.

Kohl and Engine Capital did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

In the letter cited by the newspaper, the activist investor also said that assuming online sales revenue of around $6.2 billion, Kohl’s digital business alone would be worth $12.4 billion.

Engine also added it believes there are private-equity firms that would pay at least $75 a share and that interactions with potential buyers suggest they could do so by monetizing Kohl’s real estate, the report said.