Stoneycroft closes in on Monsoon

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The family trust which is trying to increase its stake in the fashion retailer Monsoon was close to reaching its target of buying an extra 20 per cent of the company yesterday, despite damaging criticism over the move.

Stoneycroft, a trust linked to the family of the retailer's founder, Peter Simon, revealed that it had received acceptances over an additional 12.9 per cent of Monsoon shares yesterday. Its controversial plan has therefore received total acceptances for shares representing 18.9 per cent of Monsoon.

With various trusts connected to Mr Simon already controlling 72.5 per cent of the shares, the family trusts are now close to their target of owning 92.5 per cent of the company.

Monsoon will now be under pressure to improve its poor boardroom structure as the board only has one independent non-executive director. Investors who have not accepted the Stoneycroft offer are anxious to have stronger boardroom representation to ensure the interests of minority shareholders are protected.

Shareholders who waited until after the 23 July first deadline for acceptances made more money from their sales, it emerged. The price of the option was originally 10p per share for the right to sell at 140p. But yesterday the option price was cut to 1p a share meaning shareholders who accepted Mr Simon's terms have immediately made 9p less per share.