By  on January 30, 2009

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim HelU has again increased his holdings in Saks Inc., but is no closer to the 20 percent ownership threshold established when the company deployed a poison pill plan triggered by his actions.

Slim Helú, through his investment trust Inmobiliaria Carso, acquired another 300,000 shares of Saks on Jan. 23 at prices ranging from $2.30 to $2.56 a share, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This boosted his holdings to 25.55 million shares, or 18 percent of the 142.1 million shares outstanding. The investment was just over $700,000, or an average of $2.34 a share.

On Thursday, Saks’ shares fell 14 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $2.59.

In November, Slim Helú padded his Saks holdings by 3.3 million shares to 25.25 million. However, because there were fewer shares outstanding — 137.7 million — his stake on a percentage basis was actually larger, 18.3 percent.

Days after Slim Helú’s November purchase, Saks enacted its poison pill plan, which becomes effective when a single investor acquires 20 percent or more of the luxury retailer’s stock. The plan gave each shareholder a preferred share purchase right that can be exercised if a person or group picks up more than one-fifth of the company’s shares. All shareholders but the acquiring party then would be allowed to purchase a number of Saks’ common shares that have a market value of twice that of the exercise price, thereby diluting the acquirer’s position.

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