LONDON — After saying he wouldn’t make a bid for men’s wear retailer Moss Bros, Sir Philip Green has offloaded his 28 percent stake in the chain.
This story first appeared in the December 1, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Green released a statement to the London Stock Exchange Friday saying Warbeck, his family investment company through which he took the stake, had sold its Moss Bros shares to a trust represented by Simon Berwin, which already owned a small percentage of Moss Bros. Berwin is managing director of the British men’s wear manufacturer and distributor Berwin & Berwin.
Berwin told WWD that he and his partners in the trust last week sold some of their shares in Moss Bros, so the trust’s stake stands at 29.99 percent. If their shareholding had risen above 30 percent, that would have required the trust to make an offer for the remainder of Moss Bros’ shares since it is a public company.
Berwin said his trust isn’t planning a takeover bid for the retailer. “All we are is an investor, but we look forward to meeting with the board shortly, to see if we can help [with the business],” said Berwin.
In September, Moss Bros reported a pretax loss of 1.6 million pounds, or $2.4 million, for the six months to July 26, compared with losses of 700,000 pounds, or $1 million, for the same period the previous year. A spokeswoman for Moss Bros declined all comment on Berwin’s stake, but said it is “business as usual” for the retailer.
Green said he sold his 26.8 million shares in Moss Bros for 28.85 pence, or 44 cents, a share, after buying the stake last month for 24.95 pence, or 38 cents, a share. The transactions generated about a $1.6 million profit for the British retail titan, who also owns Topshop parent Arcadia Group Ltd. and British Home Stores.