Moss Bros board divided over Baugur's £40m offer

Baugur, the Icelandic investment fund, has opened up a rift on the board of Moss Bros as it ended months of speculation by making a £40m indicative cash offer for the menswear and formal-hire chain.

Moss Bros said it had allowed Baugur access to its books but a non-executive director, Mark Bernstein, who is married to a member of the founding Moss family, opposed the decision.

Baugur and unidentified strategic partners made an indicative offer of 42p a share for Moss Bros, just 2.25p more than the retailer's closing share price on Friday.

Moss Bros's roots go back to 1851, when Moses Moses opened two shops in London's Covent Garden. Ms Moses' descendants, the Moss family, own 18.5 per cent of the company. Moss Bros merged with Cecil Gee, the menswear retailer, in 1988 and the Gee family holds 7.8 per cent of the shares.

Baugur's approach coincided with a profit warning from Moss Bros, which said this year's profit before non-recurring items would be lower than management's previous expectations. The company also said it would cut jobs because of difficult conditions in the retail market but that it wanted to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

The families fear that Baugur is trying to buy the company on the cheap. Moss Bros has suffered from competition from supermarkets, fewer marriages and the general slowdown in consumer spending as households tighten their belts.

Moss Bros shares rose 5 per cent to 41.75p yesterday, indicating that investors did not expect a higher offer for the company.

Unity, an investment vehicle part-owned by Baugur, already owns 28.5 per cent of Moss Bros. Baugur is making its bid with different partners from those involved in Unity and would buy out those investors if a deal was agreed.

Baugur, which owns stakes in retailers with 3,900 stores around the world, said in December that it was considering an approach for the shares of Moss Bros it did not already own. The acquisitive group has bought up swathes of the UK high street, including House of Fraser, Oasis and Whistles.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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: Admin Assistant

£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding Insurance Brokerag...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders