Given the current state of the economy and unemployment levels, the discount store sector is drawing significant investor attention. We have seen three buyout candidates emerge so far in 2011. In February, shares of Big Lots Inc. climbed more than 15% in late-afternoon trading when Bloomberg Businessweek, in an unconfirmed report, said that the company was exploring a possible sale after receiving interest from private equity firms. According to a Bloomberg article dated September 23, 2011, Big Lots was trading at 13.9 times its free cash flow, which was half the industry average of 27 times. It thus presented the cheapest buyout opportunity to private equity firms compared with other discount stores such as 99 Cents Only Stores and Family Dollar Stores Inc. S&P believes that for a retailer to be considered for a buyout, it should have a solid business model, healthy cash flows, low debt levels, and expansion potential. We also think that experienced company management is an additional positive for a retailer. Big Lots fits the bill on all counts, as do Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only Stores.