Blog: Leonie BarrieLaura Ashley lining up for Moss Bros?

Leonie Barrie | 27 March 2008

Laura Ashley continues to deny that it is lining up a takeover bid for troubled men’s wear retailer Moss Bros – even though it has raised its stake in the firm five times in the course of a month. The women’s wear and home furnishings group now has a 5.96% share in Moss Bros, but continues to insist it merely sees this as an investment opportunity.

If that’s the case, then here’s an interesting question: if it’s not considering a counterbid, then why is it buying shares (at GBP0.46) above an offer price (of GBP0.42) already tabled by Icelandic investor Baugur?

Laura Ashley, which is controlled by Malaysia's MUI Group, is on the up again after years in the doldrums. It today posted a 62.3% surge in pre-tax profits in 2007, while sales rose 5.6%.

Not only would it benefit from adding men’s wear to its product line-up, but it could also get a less hostile reception from the Moss and Gee families, which own a combined 27% stake in Moss Bros and vehemently oppose Baugur’s bid.

UK: Laura Ashley FY profits surge 62%


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