Based on comments made on ABC’s, The Business Broadcast on Wednesday night, Myer believes Premier Investments is staging a coup, claiming investors “should be deeply concerned”.
Appearing on the ABC Wednesday night, Premier Investment’s Solomon Lew said the company “has no interest in making a takeover bid”.
In the lead up to Myer’s AGM at the end of the month, 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. The investment firm has been running a hostile campaign against the embattled department store since it first purchased shares in October 2017, becoming Myer’s biggest investor. As a direct competitor to the retailer, Myer’s Chairman, Garry Hounsell has stated on multiple occasions that Lew’s smear campaign has been designed to further Premier’s own interests, to the detriment of Myer’s future.
Lew, has continued to deny this, saying last night that he simply wants investors to have all the facts before casting their vote to support or reject the board at the upcoming AGM.
“We will get the remuneration report… we will get that report and then we will move to announce an independent board, and then we’ll move forward… that is our plan,” Lew said.
“Premier is saying categorically it is not making a takeover bid and at this point of time is definitely not buying any shares.”
However, according to Hounsell, this is a thin guise to hide the fact that Lew is actually using its call for an independent board to stage a takeover.
Based on ASIC’s Truth in Takeovers policy, Lew’s most recent statements mean Premier Investments cannot legally make a takeover bid for Myer by using the proper channels. The only way the investment firm can take control of Myer is if Lew gets his way and there is a board spill at this year’s AGM.
“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,” Hounsell said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“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,” he continued.
“I urge shareholders not to risk the vital work that is underway through our customer first plan to create shareholder value and turn around the business,” Hounsell said.
According to a trading update released by Myer last week, Myer’s sales for the three months ending in October were down 4.8 percent, while same-store sales were down 4.3 percent. In the same period, the company’s main competitor, David Jones, reported a sales increase of 2.9 percent, and same-store sales increase of 2.4 percent for the 20 weeks ending November 11. Online sales during this time also rose by 48.4 percent.
Myer’s AGM will be held on Friday, November 30 at Mural Hall, on the top level of the company’s flagship Melbourne store, with kick off time scheduled for 11 am.
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