Green denies move for M&S

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The Independent Online

The retail tycoon Philip Green moved today to quash speculation that he may be lining up another takeover approach for Marks & Spencer.

The retail tycoon Philip Green moved today to quash speculation that he may be lining up another takeover approach for Marks & Spencer.

The Bhs and Arcadia boss told the London Stock Exchange that he "wishes to make clear that he is not considering a possible offer for M&S".

The statement comes amid continued speculation in the market about Mr Green's intentions, following his failed £9.1 billion approach in the summer.

Under takeover rules, Mr Green said he still reserved the right to make an offer for M&S in the event a third party announces a firm intention to bid.

The possibility of another approach from Mr Green's investment vehicle Revival Acquisitions has hung over M&S since last month, when time restrictions on a follow-up move were lifted by takeover authorities.

The speculation, which has linked Mr Green to the 15% stake in M&S owned by US shareholder Brandes, has kept the retailer's shares close to a two-year high.

That is despite poor trading figures at the high street giant, which said in January that its annual profits had been hit by a poor Christmas.

Prospects of a fresh approach appeared to fade at the weekend after one of the biggest backers of the entrepreneur's M&S bid was reported to have turned its attentions elsewhere.

Goldman Sachs' private equity arm is now among the front-runners to buy Travelex, the world's biggest foreign exchange provider.

The Sunday Times also said that Mr Green was growing frustrated at the continued M&S speculation, which he believed was distracting for staff at his Bhs and Arcadia businesses.

Today's announcement removes some of the pressure on Stuart Rose, the former Arcadia executive who was appointed to the top job at M&S following the emergence of Mr Green's bid interest in May.

Changes instigated by Mr Rose have included the sale of M&S Money, an overhaul of management and £100 million of savings wrung from the supply chain.

He is still awaiting a trading upturn that would prove the board's claim in the summer that Mr Green's 400p a share offer undervalued M&S.

As well as opposition at boardroom level, Mr Green was also thwarted by the company's army of small shareholders, whose opposition contributed to Mr Green's decision to drop his bid last year.



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