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Nicholas Financial approached about possible sale

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Consumer finance company Nicholas Financial Inc. said Wednesday that it has been approached about a potential sale.

Nicholas said it received an unsolicited and non-binding "indication of interest" from a third party that might buy the company. It said it will consider the proposal and will also consider options that include a sale of the whole company or assets, acquisition and expansion opportunities, or possible debt or equity financing.

Nicholas Financial, based in Clearwater, Fla., retained Janney Montgomery Scott LLC as adviser. It does not plan to make any more announcements until it the board of directors has finished evaluating its options.

The company has 64 branch locations in the South and Midwest. It buys and services contracts for the purchase of new and used cars and trucks, along with other consumer-finance products.

Shares of Nicholas Financial rose 68 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $13.92 in after-hours trading. The stock has traded between $14.80 and $11.71 in the last year.