Argos chief vows to fend off pounds 1.6bn GUS hostile bid

The new acting chief executive of Argos came out fighting yesterday, promising to mount a strong defence against the pounds 1.6bn hostile bid from Great Universal Stores, whose offer document is expected on Monday.

Stuart Rose, who was only appointed earlier this week, said he was confident that Argos could confound its critics and escape GUS's clutches. "This is not a done deal at all. We have the makings here of a very strong fight. I'm up for it and I hope we will enjoy ourselves in the process. This business will not be sold on the cheap."

His comments came as Argos shares drifted 14p lower to 611p compared to the GUS offer price of 570p. The fall was attributed to fading hopes of a white knight intervention and comments from analysts that GUS may not have to raise its bid by much to clinch victory. GUS shares closed 2p higher at 750p.

GUS's offer document is expected to underline the views of Lord Wolfson, the company's chairman, that Argos is facing increased competition, increased demands for improved service and that GUS can help Argos achieve its home shopping and ambitions with far lower costs.

Mr Rose denied that after less than a week in the business, he could hope to offer little more than a straightforward defence on the grounds of price and the possible return of funds to shareholders. "I have had enough time to get around the business and am very encouraged by what I've seen. This business has had just one difficult year. It is not about to collapse around our ears."

He admitted that the Argos management may have taken its eye off the ball in recent months. "There is a danger that when a business has been as successful as this one has that your eyes are sometimes not as open as they should be."

He said the company would continue with its plans to start a home shopping trial later this year. It is also possible that the company will consider developing a database on the shopping habits of its 14 million customers. "I have an open mind on it," he said.

Although Bob Stewart, Argos' finance director, last week questioned whether a database would be of much use to Argos, Mr Rose is thought to be interested in the possible uses of customer information for cross-selling of other products and the more efficient targeting of marketing material. "It would be timely to review our attitude to databases," he said.

GUS's offer document is likely to focus on the key points made in its original offer announcement and underline the weakness in the Argos share price.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss