Dollar General Corp. increased its offer for smaller rival Family Dollar Stores Inc., trying to derail a deal with another discounter.
The nation's largest deep discounter said Tuesday that it offered $9.1 billion in cash, or $80 per share, for Family Dollar. That's up from Dollar General's original $8.9 billion bid.
Family Dollar, based in Matthews, N.C., rejected that offer last month, instead sticking with a less-lucrative $8.5 billion cash and stock deal with Dollar Tree Inc.
Family Dollar cited antitrust concerns for jettisoning Dollar General's bid.
To ease those fears, Dollar General said Tuesday it would unload up to 1,500 stores if the Federal Trade Commission required it. The company also said it would pay Family Dollar $500 million if antitrust issues torpedoed the deal.
Previously, Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General offered to divest as many as 700 stores.
"We are confident that our enhanced proposal sufficiently addresses any concerns that led Family Dollar's Board of Directors to reject our prior proposal without any discussions between our companies," Dollar General Chief Executive Rick Dreiling said in a statement.
The bidding war comes as deep-discounters struggle with increased competition from discount giants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. They're also contending with a customer base that hasn't benefited from the economic recovery.
Family Dollar on Tuesday confirmed it received Dollar General's offer and said its board of directors will review the revised proposal.
Dollar General shares rose 41 cents, or 0.64%, to $64.40 a share in late morning trading. Shares of Family Dollar climbed 38 cents, or 0.47%, to $80.21.