Blog: Leonie BarrieA Rosy future?

Leonie Barrie | 14 July 2004

I've been away for a couple of days, during which time the battle for control of Marks & Spencer seems to have reached fever pitch. We've been here before of course - Philip Green toyed with a similar takeover bid a couple of years ago and M&S has been unveiling revival plans under each and every one of its recent bosses from Peter Salisbury to Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes.

But at last we have two competent clothing retailers putting credible (and remarkably similar) proposals on the table. And both have the capacity to deliver. Shareholders seem unable to decide between them either: Philip Green is being backed by M&S's largest shareholder Brandes Investment Partners, while Stuart Rose in the M&S corner can count on Standard Life and, it seems, a tidal wave of public support from shareholders who turned up at the company's AGM today.

Perhaps the most exciting thing in all of this is that whatever the outcome, M&S's value has soared, it's future strategy is likely to focus on going 'back to basics' with a cohesive offer and delivering real value to customers. The one downside perhaps, is that if he fends of Green, Rose is going to be under immense pressure to deliver results - and quickly.


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