Blog: Leonie BarrieGreen declares war on M&S

Leonie Barrie | 16 July 2004

What a difference a day makes. The most extraordinary takeover drama in recent years has ended in defeat for Philip Green after he withdrew his £9.1bn offer for the UK's largest clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer, on Wednesday evening. The six-week battle veered from soap opera to circus with its war of words and pavement tussles, but the final chapter in this particular story has ended in a bit of an anticlimax.

Green has retreated to the beach, and M&S chief executive Stuart Rose has launched a charm offensive in an attempt to repair relations with the retailer’s largest shareholders. But to prove there's nothing like a billionaire spurned, Green has vowed to hit M&S where it hurts by ramping up quality and value at his own shops – Including Wallis, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Evans, Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Bhs.

While this strategy is unlikely to dent M&S sales as much as Green hopes (the two groups basically have different target markets), customers are sure to benefit. And if it doesn’t work? Well, under Takeover Panel rules he could return with another bid in just six months’ time – putting even more pressure on Stuart Rose to perform the turnaround he has promised M&S shareholders.


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