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Rent-A-Center completes the acquisition of Merchants Preferred

Rent-to-own showrooms packed with furniture, electronics and appliances are a common sight in California and around the country, and a great many of them are operated by Rent-A-Center Inc. The Texas-based retailer has 2,972 locations in the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico, but it has struggled to establish a similarly dominating presence in the growing virtual rent-to-own sector. Any qualms stockholders may have had were put to rest in July when Rent-A-Center announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Merchants Preferred, and recent media reports reveal that the deal has now been completed.

Merchants Preferred is a leader in the $20 billion and growing virtual rent-to-own segment, and Rent-A-Center's CEO says its acquisition will provide the company with proven technology, a centralized team of support staff and scalable infrastructure. The current president and CEO of Merchant Preferred will be joining Rent-A-Center to take charge of its virtual operations according to media reports.

The deal, which is reported to be worth about $47.5 million, will give Rent-A-Center approximately 2,500 virtual rental kiosks to add to its existing 1,100 locations across the country. The company is paying for the acquisition with $28 million in cash and 701,918 RAC shares. Merchants Preferred was established in 2012 to provide virtual rent-to-own services to customers who would find it difficult to obtain traditional financing.

When seven-figure mergers and acquisitions are closed this quickly, it is usually a sign that the attorneys involved performed thorough due diligence and identified and addressed any potential legal obstacles. Steps attorneys with experience in this area could take during the due diligence process include reviewing corporate governance documents such as operating and shareholder agreements, assess debt financing options and gauge the impact of changes in the acquirer's capital structure.

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