SYDNEY — Australia's Federal Court has cleared Woolworths Holdings Ltd's $2 billion takeover of department store chain David Jones.
Justice Kathleen Farrell announced her decision Thursday. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission had raised concerns about the propriety of a separate offer Woolworths had made to David Jones shareholder Solomon Lew involving Lew's stake in retailer and Woolworth's subsidiary Country Road Group.
On Monday, 96.8 percent of David Jones shareholders voted in favor of the Woolworths deal at a special meeting in Sydney, ending weeks of speculation that Lew might block the deal. Lew, who owns a 9.89 percent stake in David Jones, abstained from Monday's vote.
The deal will create one of the southern hemisphere's largest retailers with a pro-forma combined fiscal 2013 revenue of over 5.7 billion Australian dollars or $5.3 billion, from 1151 stores across 16 countries, with approximately 43 percent of sales generated in Australasia according to Woolworths.
Established in Sydney in 1838 by Welsh immigrant David Jones, David Jones is the world's oldest continuously operating department store. It operates 38 stores across Australia and is the country's second largest department store by sales, generating 1.85 billion Australian dollars in fiscal 2013 or $1.92 billion at average exchange rates.
At the time of the takeover announcement on April 9, Woolworths said it intended to "review alternatives" with respect to David Jones' property portfolio, which includes two properties in Sydney and two in Melbourne. It has been estimated that the portfolio could be worth 650 million Australian dollars to 1 billion Australian dollars ($608 million to $935 million) if the four central business district properties were redeveloped or air rights were exploited.
Woolworths has been operating in Australia for the past 15 years through Country Road Group, which operates the Country Road, Trenery, Witchery and Mimco brands.
Woolworths has forecast the David Jones deal will extract 130 million Australian dollars or $122 million of synergies per year within five years, by ramping up DJs private label, increasing volume and omni-channel initiatives, lowering the cost of sourcing and the introduction of WHL brands into DJs stores, an improved loyalty program and new "village format" stores.
David Jones shareholders will receive four Australian dollars, or $3.75, per share next month — at 25 times forecast 2014 earnings.
On Monday, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced that, subject to final court approval, it would remove David Jones Limited from the S&P/ASX 200 after the close of trading on July 18.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)