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Observer Profiles Key Figures In Family Dollar Takeover Bid

The Charlotte Observer has profiles on Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine and Nelson Peltz, the man who wants to lead a takeover of the company. Family Dollar and other discount stores have done quite well the last few years as people look for better bargains in the tough economy. But Peltz believes Family Dollar can do better. His hedge fund, Trian Fund Managment, has offered $7.6 billion for the company, which is based in Matthews. Trian has become Family Dollar's largest shareholder since last summer. The Observer's story on Levine goes into his history with the company founded by his father, Leon Levine. That history includes a falling out with his father when he was 28 and a senior vp: Leon had given his son an ultimatum: Take a more hands-on job, or leave. Howard left, and told the press that he had been fired. He moved North and opened a chain of women's discount clothing stores, which folded after a few years. He declines now to talk about the one-time rift with his father. In 1996, after nine years away, he returned to Family Dollar as the heir apparent. Leon Levine said in an interview at the time that the two had patched up their differences not long after Howard left. The Observer's story on Peltz details his rise to billionaire status, and his style. Peltz likes to keep a lower profile than other takeover specialists, according to Charles Geisst, a Manhattan College finance professor. "He's very prominent, but he's one of the more anonymous takeover guys," Geisst said. "In that sort of business the high profile doesn't help, especially if you get labeled as a shark." One other interesting tidbit from the story: Peltz's neighbors sued him. They were upset with the noise made by the helicopter he used to commute from his estate in Beford, NY, to Manhattan. As WFAE has previously reported, Family Dollar has been trying to spruce up its image the last few years. For example, it's unveiled a new logo and has expanded products and brands.