Ahmed raises offer for Moss Bros

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The Independent Online

Shami Ahmed, the fashion entrepreneur who has been stalking the struggling menswear retailer Moss Bros, yesterday revealed that he had raised funds to make a full takeover offer that could value the group at £46m.

Mr Ahmed, who has been ordered by the Takeover Panel to make a full offer or walk away by next Friday, said he intended to offer 50p per share and would not offer less than 45p per share.

However, any formal bid is conditional on Moss Bros allowing him to complete "limited due diligence", he said.

Moss Bros, which has already rejected two previous approaches, said it had appointed NM Rothschild, the investment bank, to advise whether to allow Mr Ahmed access to its books and would make a full response next week. The market welcomed the move from the founder of the Joe Bloggs jeans brand, sending Moss Bros's shares up 21 per cent to 43.5p.

Sources close to Mr Ahmed interpreted the statement from Keith Hamill, the chairman of Moss Bros, as "positive news that they are prepared to open a dialogue".

But many shareholders criticised Mr Ahmed for yet again failing to make a definitive move. One leading institutional investor said: "He is still stalking around, playing with takeover rules and not being very open. I think 50p is still a bit cheeky and see value beyond that."

Mr Ahmed said he had full financial support with offers of debt finance from Bank of Scotland.

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