Takeover talks at Country Casuals fall through

The fortunes of the troubled Country Casuals women's clothes retailer took another turn yesterday when the company admitted that takeover talks with a rival, believed to be the Alexon womenswear group, had fallen through and sent the share price into a spin.

The group, which has been the subject of numerous bid approaches over the past few years, now plans to remain independent. However the announcement opens the door for Mark Bunce, a founder and former chief executive of the company, to relaunch a bid for the group.

Tom Adam, chairman of Country Casuals, indicated that the offer for the group was simply pitched too low.

"Our principal shareholders felt that our company was worth more," he said.

Country Casuals is not in talks with Mr Bunce at the moment but Mr Adam did not rule out future takeover discussions.

Talks with Mr Bunce, who owns nearly 11 per cent of the company, collapsed in June when he failed to come up with a definite offer for the business and other groups indicated their interest in the company. Mr Bunce and his wife Christina, a fellow founder of Country Casuals, left the group by mutual agreement at the end of June, having earlier resigned from the board after rejecting Country Casuals' plans to sell Elvi and Lerose, two loss-making subsidiaries, to management buyout teams. Mr Adam confirmed that Mr and Mrs Bunce had received compensation on leaving the group but declined to reveal how much they were paid.

Analysts speculate that Mr Bunce would have to offer more than 140p a share for the group. That is the price that former chairman John Shannon was willing to pay for the company when he launched an unsuccessful pounds 27m hostile bid two years ago. But some observers believe Mr Bunce may have difficulty in raising the sort of capital required to secure a takeover.

Mr Bunce was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Country Casuals will be left to concentrate on its core retail brand, which has had a chequered history in the past few years. Operating profits from this division fell from more than pounds 3.5m in 1995 to pounds 3.1m in the year to last January. "We didn't provide clothes that our customers wanted. We got it wrong. But we are confident about this year. Our new ranges have been well received," said Mr Adam yesterday. The company announced that like-for- like sales for the first six months to 26 July were running ahead 8 per cent on last year.

Country Casuals has been a poor performer since it was floated at 130p a share in 1992. Its share price slumped 20p to 113.5p on yesterday's news, valuing the group at less than pounds 22m.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world