SPAIN: Cortefiel Accepts CVC Offer, More Bids Likely
Spain's Hinojosa and Garcia Quiroz families, the founding entrepreneurs behind Spanish retail giant Cortefiel, have agreed to sell their 52 per cent stake to CVC European Equity Partners, the UK-based investment group that launched a €1.4bn bid for the expansionist retailer Thursday.
Cortefiel's other top investor, local real-estate firm Hidafa, has also opted to sell its 10 per cent share, the company and the families announced in a statement with Stock Market regulator CNMV.
The moves give CVC's bid 62 per cent investor support. However, the offer is contingent on shareholders representing 75 per cent of the capital approving the offer within 45 days.
While some analysts called the bid (which represented a 12 per cent premium over Cortefiel's closing stock price Tuesday) "generous," others said that Cortefiel's smaller investors will likely wait for possible counter-bids before tendering their shares.
Analysts at Kepler Securities in Madrid said Cortefiel could fetch up to €19.33 per share, up from CVC's €17.9 per-share bid.
The CNMV will rule on the offer in two weeks and other bids could surface in the meantime, observers said, adding that CVC rivals such as Apax, Permira or Blackstone have a strong interest in growing in Spain's industrial sector and that Cortefiel could very well be a target.
The 986-store chain owns the fast-growing Springfield and Women's Secret retail banners and has successfully restructured its business after over expansion caused big losses.
While some speculated that Cortefiel archrival Inditex could launch a competing offer, many ruled it out.
"What would Inditex do with so many more stores," said a Madrid-based analyst who requested anonymity. "Plus Inditex's business model is completely different from Cortefiel," he added.
Meanwhile, Cortefiel's chairman Gonzalo Hinojosa told unions that Cortefiel's new ownership structure won't jeopardise the group's 9,000 jobs.
On late Friday, Cortefiel's shares traded at €18.52 on the Spanish Stock Exchange, sharply surpassing CVC's offer price.
By Ivan Castano.
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