News in brief

Sources say Petco studying sale or IPO

The owners of Petco Animal Supplies Inc. are exploring a sale or initial public offering that could value the retail chain at $6 billion, including debt, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are interviewing potential advisers while reviewing strategic options, said the people, who requested anonymity because the talks are private. Formal efforts around a sale or IPO are not expected to kick off until next year, one of them said. The owners could still decide to retain the company.

Representatives for CVC, CPPIB and Petco declined to comment.

While the pet products industry remains relatively recession-resilient, Moody's said, consumers have a number of online alternatives, including PetSmart-backed Chewy, and general retailers Amazon, Walmart and Target.

Petco operates more than 1,500 stores across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico, according to its website.

CVC and CPPIB acquired San Diego-based Petco for $4.6 billion in 2016.

-- Bloomberg News

Firms promise to add more Black directors

NEW YORK -- More than a dozen companies, including Zillow and M.M.LaFleur, are promising to add at least one Black director to their boards within the next year.

The companies made the pledge as part of the launch of an initiative by The Board Challenge, which is advocating diversity in boardrooms. The Board Challenge's co-founders will check in with each of them after six months and again at 12 months to monitor their progress, while also helping them to find candidates.

Companies have been slow move people who aren't white men into leadership positions. Among the companies in the S&P 500 index, more than a third did not have a single Black director in 2019, according to Black Enterprise. The rate of 37% was down slightly from 39% a year before.

In many cases, outside forces are pushing for better representation in the board room and in senior executive ranks. Shareholders, governments and other proponents say it makes business sense for companies' leadership to reflect the customers they serve and the workforces they oversee.

-- The Associated Press

State index up 4.50 to end day at 441.58

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 441.58, up 4.50.

"Equities rose for the first time in four sessions, led by the information technology and materials stocks, as investors looked to buy the recent dip, with all sectors of the S&P 500 Index advancing," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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