UPDATE 2-Dollar Tree expects to shed less than 300 stores to buy Family Dollar
* Dollar Tree says has identified potential buyers
* Expects to close deal by March
* Family Dollar seeks Jan. 22 vote (Adds analysts' comments, details)
By Ramkumar Iyer and Sruthi Ramakrishnan
Jan 12 (Reuters) - Discount chain Dollar Tree Inc said it expects to divest fewer than 300 stores to satisfy competition regulators scrutinizing its proposed takeover of Family Dollar Stores Inc, and had already identified potential buyers.
Dollar Tree, which had 5,282 stores in the United States and Canada as of Nov. 1, said it would likely sign an agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by the end of the month on the number of stores it would have to give up.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp could be among potential buyers as they seek to expand their small-format stores, Rahul Sharma, managing director of investment advisory firm Neev Capital, said.
Family Dollar has agreed to be bought by its smaller rival for $8.5 billion in cash and stock, rejecting a sweetened hostile $9.1 billion offer from Dollar General Corp.
Family Dollar has said a deal with Dollar General, the biggest U.S. discount chain, would be blocked by the FTC because Dollar General has not committed to shedding enough stores. Continued...