Shares of GNC Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNC) were up 11% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT following reports the health and nutrition products retailer is fielding acquisition interest from China.
More specifically, The Wall Street Journal this morning cited "sources familiar with the situation" as stating GNC has met with "a range of Chinese buyers in recent weeks" to measure their interest in an acquisition that could be worth a total consideration of $4 billion, including debt.
Of course, if that's accurate, it seems to indicate these talks are still in their very early stages. And while GNC sports a current market capitalization of $1.45 billion as of this writing, note it also ended last quarter with a balance sheet featuring cash of $48.2 million and long-term debt of $1.59 billion.
With shares of GNC still down more than 30% year to date on the heels of its latest painful earnings report in July, it might be tempting to hold on with the hope of realizing an even greater acquisition premium should the company find a suitable Chinese acquirer. But keeping in mind there's no guarantee the talks will result in actual bids, I think investors would be wise to take today's profits and put their money to work elsewhere.