Target (TGT) Tries To Dump Piece Of Credit Card Business

March 13, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Target (NYSE: TGT) has a huge credit card business. In the current economy, that may not be perfect positioning. The value of the portfolio at the unit is $8 billion. A financial buyer may pay $4 billion for half.

Target said the proposed deal could provide "substantial liquidity" for use in store expansion, debt retirement or share repurchases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Given that default rates on almost all consumer credit are highly likely to rise and that traffic to Target’s stores will fall due to the weak economy, the offer has to live in a place beyond the retailer’s wildest dreams. The news is almost too good to be true, an indication that it will probably change before a deal is struck. To put a point on it, regardless of what the company says, it won’t get the current proposed price.

But, on the very off chance that Target can close a $4 billion arrangement to off-load part of a business that is likely to be damaged over the next year, it should get the documents printed and signed as soon as possible.

Never give a sucker an even break: never wise up a chump.

Douglas A. McIntyre