Briscoe takeover buoys Kathmandu shares

Briscoes1Briscoe Group today announced it has acquired a 19.9 per cent shareholding in Kathmandu Holdings, a leading retailer of clothing and equipment for travel and adventure with stores predominantly in New Zealand and Australia.

A 4.99 per cent shareholding has been acquired by Briscoe Group over time, and a further 14.91 per cent shareholding has been acquired from a number of institutional shareholders at a price of $1.80 per share.

Briscoe intends to lodge a takeover notice imminently in respect of a takeover offer comprising both cash and scrip to all Kathmandu shareholders but at this stage does not intend to make any further comment about its purchase of Kathmandu shares or the imminent takeover offer.

Briscoe Group MD and majority shareholder, Rod Duke, said, “I am excited by the potential that would arise from bringing together these two iconic retailers – we each have strong and recognisable brands that I see as complementary.”

Duke is making a move on the trans-Tasman retailer Kathmandu after a 44 per cent slide in its stock price in the past 12 months.

In February, Kathmandu said Christmas and January trading had lagged behind expectations, driving the retailer to a first-half loss.

A month earlier, the company appointed Xavier Simonet to replace Peter Halkett, who left in November after eight years running the company.

The company, which has 157 outlets, said in March it was slowing its pace of new store openings.

It said its full-year performance was dependent on favourable Easter and winter sales to restore margins that were squeezed by discounting over Christmas and January, particularly in Australia.

Briscoe, the operator of the Briscoe homeware stores and Rebel Sport outlets, was the subject of market speculation in January that it was looking at a bid for struggling childswear retailer, Pumpkin Patch.

As at January 25, Briscoe had $89.7 million of cash and bank balances available.

Briscoe shares rose 0.4 per cent to $2.86 and Kathmandu shares jumped 28 per cent to $1.78.

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