A Bloomberg report indicates that Collective Brands has narrowed down from 20 to 10 the list of candidates to the acquisition of the whole group or some of its components, such as its loss-making international chain of shoe stores, Payless ShoeSource, or top-performing brands such as Saucony, Stride Rite and Sperry Top-Sider. The final decisions may be made in April. Earlier reports had indicated interest by Wolverine World Wide and Skechers as well as by KKR. Bloomberg lists Wolverine, Deckers Corporation and Columbia Sportswear among the initial candidates, but doesn't mention which ones have been retained for the second round, and adds that private equity investors may join them in the takeover. According to the news agency, Collective could fetch a total price of around $1.2 billion if it is sold as a whole concern. Meanwhile, investors have launched a class action suit against Collective, claiming that its shares trade at artificially inflated prices due to false and misleading information with regard to Payless' sales and inventories.

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