Federal Court approves David Jones takeover bid after last minute hiccup

 In Australia, NewZealand, Woolworths
The Federal Court has approved South African retail giant Woolworths’ $2.2 billion takeover of David Jones, but not before a dramatic last-minute intervention from the Australian and Securities and Investments Commission.

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In a hearing before Justice Kathleen Farrell in Sydney on Thursday morning, the corporate watchdog announced it would withhold a letter of consent for the deal, and again raised concerns that Woolworths’ mop-up bid for Country Road constitutes a multi-million dollar inducement or “collateral benefit” to rag trader Solomon Lew.

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Mr Lew emerged with a 9.9 per cent stake in David Jones in June, triggering fears that he would attempt to block the David Jones scheme unless Woolworths bought out his 11.8 per cent stake in Country Road at a massive premium.

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However, after a brief adjournment, the judge rejected ASIC’s argument on Thursday.

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Justice Farrell said she took into account overwhelming shareholder support for the scheme, which was approved by 89.6 per cent of David Jones shareholders by number and 96.8 per cent of shares voted at a meeting on Monday. Sydney Morning Herald – Read More

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