AUSTRALIA: David Jones takeover meeting to proceed
A shareholder meeting to agree Woolworths’ planned AUD2.2bn (US$2.1bn) takeover of department store retailer David Jones will proceed on 14 July following a court hearing.
Australia’s Federal Court rejected a request from corporate watchdog ASIC that it should order a separate report from an independent expert on Woolworths’ AUD213m bid to buy all outstanding shares in its Country Road retail business.
ASIC requested the report into the involvement of investor Solomon Lew, who has been engaged in a long-running battle with Woolworths over the strategic direction of Country Road, in which he holds an 11.7% stake.
Lew built up a 9.9% stake in David Jones last month and is believed to have threatened to block the deal unless Woolworths bought out his Country Road stake at a premium.
The Woolworths offer for remaining Country Road shares stands at AUD17 per share, or roughly three times the value of the company’s shares six months ago.
The court refused the ASIC request, concluding that a supplementary letter from independent expert Grant Samuel, and submitted by Woolworths, was enough to address the concerns.
Grant Samuel also said the AUD4-per-share final offer by Woolworths for David Jones remained “fair and reasonable”, while the David Jones board reiterated its support for the takeover, arguing it was in shareholders’ best interests.
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