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PITTSBURGH-GNC Corp. says it is exploring strategic alternatives, which include the sale of the company or an initial public offering. At the same time, GNC Parent Corp., a newly formed holding company that controls locally based GNC, has announced its intention to offer $325 million in senior notes.

The offering is “subject to market conditions,” according to a statement, and the pricing and terms are to be determined. The notes are floating-rate senior unsecured payment-in-kind notes due in 2011 and will be offered to institutional buyers.

Proceeds from the sale, together with an unspecified amount of cash on hand, will be used to redeem GNC’s outstanding Series A preferred stock and repay a portion of General Nutrition Centers Inc. debt under its senior term loan facility.

GNC previously filed a registration statement with the SEC for an IPO, but twice postponed going public “due to market conditions,” according to an Aug. 24 SEC filing. “The registration statement has not been withdrawn,” according to GNC’s Nov. 3 statement.

An earlier June IPO registration was priced at between $16 and $18 a share with plans to sell up to 23.5 million shares. New York City-based Apollo Management LP is a majority owner of the company.

GNC Corp.’s net income spiked this third quarter to $13.9 million versus $3.2 million for the same quarter a year ago. Consolidated revenues were $367.7 million for the quarter, up 14% above third-quarter 2005. The revenue rise came primarily from an 11.7%-hike in domestic company-owned comp store sales and a 7%-increase for franchise units.

The retailer of nutritional and diet supplements operates from more than 4,800 retail locations in the US, including more than 1,000 franchise units and 1,200 store-within-a-store units in Rite Aid stores. It also has franchise operations in 46 countries.

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