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.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye