Baugur puts its £40m offer for Moss Bros back on the shelf
Wednesday 28 May 2008
A member of the Moss Bros menswear dynasty called yesterday for an end to "factional fighting" among the company's board after the Icelandic investment group Baugur withdrew its indicative £40m offer to buy the high-street retailer.
David Moss, a former director of the company, said it was time to "rebuild relationships on the board". He added: "What we must now have is a period of collaborative working together and rebuilding shareholder value. There can be no room for factional fighting between shareholders."
Members of the Moss and Gee family, who between them control about 23 per cent of Moss Bros, have been outspoken opponents of Baugur's potential bid since the Icelandic investor said it was considering a possible offer in December. Moss Bros non-executive director and Baugur board member Don McCarthy has criticised the family's stance publicly.
Yesterday, Baugur, which owns retailers including Karen Millen, Oasis and Hamleys, said the risk was too high that a deal might not go through, given recent changes to the Moss Bros shareholder register. It is understood Baugur believed it was unlikely it would get the backing of 75 per cent of the menswear retailer's shareholders for its 42p-a-share indicative offer.
Baugur Group chief executive, Gunnar Sigurdsson, said: "We are disappointed by recent developments that have effectively frustrated our proposed offer, but remain supportive of the management team. Baugur is keen to continue to work with the board, management and other major shareholders to identify ways to unlock the potential in the business."
It is unclear to which shareholder group Baugur was referring, but this year the home furnishings retailer Laura Ashley has gradually built a near-10 per cent stake in Moss Bros.
Some members of the Moss and Gee family have recently sold shares to reduce both families' combined stake to about 23 per cent. In March, the French bank Crédit Agricole Cheuvreux reportedly purchased a near-8 per cent stake
Laura Ashley and Crédit Agricole Cheuvreux are thought to have bought their stakes at above Baugur's offer price, which made it unlikely they would be prepared to sell their shares for 42p each.
Yesterday, Moss Bros's shares fell by 5.25p to 40.25p.
As a potential contingency plan, it is understood Moss Bros has stepped up a search within the past three weeks for a replacement for chairman, Keith Hamill, who said last November he would step down in April. A source close to the company said three candidates are being considered and a new Moss Bros chairman could be unveiled next month. It is not clear when Mr Hamill, who vowed to remain while the potential bid process was ongoing, will leave.
The decision by Baugur to shelve its indicative offer means it cannot make an offer for Moss Bros for six months unless there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a third party making a separate bid.
Moss Bros posted a pre-tax loss of £1.4m in the year to January 26.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...