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Fashion giants battle continues Down Under: Premier not to make takeover bid for Myer

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez

23 Nov 2018


New York – The battle that has two of the major apparel industry players in Australia is about to take yet another turn. Earlier this week, Premier Investment’s Solomon Lew said in an interview that the company he heads “has no interest in making a takeover bid” for competitor Myer.

It’s worth recalling that Myer’s AGM will take place next week. In the lead up to the shareholders’ meeting speculation has circled as to whether Premier Investment’s is trying to stage a takeover of Myer, without having to pay a premium for the shares, reports ‘The Sidney Morning Post’. Local media have been covering the long-running hostile campaign the invest firm has executed against the struggling department store chain. Premier first purchased Myer’s shares in October 2017, becoming its largest investor. The problems started when Myer’s Chairman, Garry Hounsell, stated on multiple occasions that Premier’s campaign has been designed to further Premier’s own interests – the latter is a direct competitor to Myer.

Myer urges shareholders to vote against Premier’s strategy to avoid paying premium

In a communication sent to shareholders this Friday, Myer’s executive team referred to Lew’s interview for ABC’s The Business broadcast, highlighting that “Mr Lew made several comments concerning Myer which have not been contained in any correspondence sent from Premier to Myer shareholders since October 2017.”

The comments that arouse the new polemic were regarding Lew’s denial of his company’s intention to make a takeover bid on Myer. “I am ruling it out…” “We will get the remuneration report… we will get that report up and then we will move to ah announcing an independent board and then we’ll move forward, that is our plan.” “Premier is saying categorically it is not making a takeover bid and at this point of time definitely not buying any shares.”

Myer’s Chairman, Garry Hounsell said those comments were unqualified and disguise an attempt by Premier to avoid paying the premium stated by the current regulation. Therefore, Hounsell urged shareholders to “not to risk the vital work that is underway through our Customer First Plan to create shareholder value and turn around the business.”

“One can only assume that Premier is trying to take control of Myer under the guise of seeking an ‘independent board’. Myer shareholders should be alarmed that Premier is trying to get Myer on the cheap for their own benefit. This interview confirmed the Board’s fears and all shareholders should be deeply concerned,” summed up Housell. He concluded by saying: “As we approach our important Christmas trading period, it is critical that we apply 100 percent of our focus and energy on our customers. It is for this reason that we are extremely disappointed by the actions of Premier Investments and their ongoing hostile media campaign, which impacts negatively on customers, team members and, ultimately, on our shareholders.”

Photo:Myer website, women's fashion