Japanese Company Makes Friendly Offer for Aquascutum
LONDON (AP) _ A Japanese company has made a friendly offer of 73.8 million pounds, or $120 million, for Aquascutum Group PLC, the classic British clothing retailer, the companies said Monday.
Renown Inc., a Japanese clothing manufacturer that specializes in middle- range ladies’ wear, offered 200 pence, or $3.26, for each of Aquascutum’s 27.3 million special A shares, the companies said.
In addition, Renown offered 550 pence, or $8.97, for each of the company’s 3.5 million ordinary shares, they said.
Aquascutum’s board of directors approved of the deal, and Renown already has acquired enough of Aquascutum’s shares to control the company, said Gerald Abrahams, Aquascutum’s chairman and chief executive.
The companies said Renown already has bought 9.35 percent of the A shares and 65.6 percent of the ordinary shares from the Abrahams family and other shareholders.
The deal appears to block attempts by dissident holders of ordinary shares who have been seeking to end the special voting rights of Aquascutum’s A shares. Those efforts had raised the prospect of a hostile offer for the company.
Founded in 1851, Aquascutum operates a dozen of its own stores, with flagships in London and New York, and wholesale outlets in 45 countries. It has 1,600 employees.
Abrahams said the offer was ″an exciting opportunity to expand″ and that it would allow Aquascutum to ″get on with our business.″
The Japanese firm is seeking to upgrade its clothing line, Abrahams said.
″We are a growing business in the Far East, a prestigious brand of very high quality goods,″ Abrahams said.
Aquascutum will remain based in London, he said.
The company also announced that its net profit for the year ended Jan. 31 fell 3 percent to 1.93 million pounds, or $3.1 million, from 1.99 million pounds a year earlier. Earnings per share declined to 6.26 pence, or 10.2 cents, from 6.53 pence.
Sales rose 5.6 percent to 52.6 million pounds, or $85.7 million, from 49.8 million pounds in the previous year.