PARIS — More than 55 percent of Gant's shareholders have rejected a hostile bid by Maus Frères SA, the Swiss retail group that owns the Lacoste brand, executives said Monday.
Less than a week ago, Maus Frères launched the 5.2 billion Swedish kronor, or $810.2 million, bid to take over the Swedish sportswear firm that operates 310 stores.
"Representing the majority of the group of shareholders, we wanted to send a strong message that we will not accept this offer," said Pedro Silva, a 10 percent stakeholder in Gant and chief executive officer of Delveste, the franchisee for Gant in Portugal, Brazil and Angola. "We think that the potential and growth of the brand has only scratched the surface, especially in markets such as the U.K., Germany and Spain. We see tremendous potential in the North American market, as well as in India and China, where we've only dipped our toe in the water. We believe the future of Gant depends on our independence."
Maus purchased 12.5 percent of Gant on the Stockholm Stock Exchange Dec. 11 and the next day made a cash bid of 310 Swedish kronor, or $48.33, a share for the rest of the company, a 31 percent premium on Gant's closing price the previous day.
Gant responded to the offer by saying it would "make an assessment and revert with a recommendation to the shareholders of Gant before the acceptance period terminates."
Maus' offer, good through Jan. 11, required approval by at least 50 percent of Gant's shareholders. Maus executives could not be reached for comment.
Swedish entrepreneurs Lennart Björk, Klas Käll and Staffan Wittmark are Gant's three main shareholders, with about 37 percent of the company split among them. They bought the rights to sell and design Gant clothing in Europe in the Eighties before acquiring the global rights to the brand in 1999. They started to grow the company from its traditional men's wear business into women's and childrens' wear. Gant was founded in the U.S. in 1949.
For the first nine months of 2007, Gant's net profit increased 18 percent to 175 million Swedish kronor, or $27.3 million, on brand sales of 5.85 billion Swedish kronor, or $912.1 million, up 14 percent.Maus is Switzerland's largest privately held retail group, running department stores and specialized retail chains, as well as French sportswear brands Aigle and Lacoste, which operates some 1,000 stores around the world. Sales of all Lacoste-branded products were about 2 billion euros, or $3.84 billion, last year. Maus had 2006 revenues of about 5.9 billion Swiss francs, or $5.23 billion.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast