LONDON — Deutsche Bank, Harvey Nichols’ largest institutional investor, isn’t happy with Dickson Poon’s offer of $3.85 per share in his bid to control 100 percent of the London-based department store.
This story first appeared in the September 25, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It doesn’t look like a very attractive offer,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman told WWD. “We have our own ideas of what the value of the company is, and we also want to hold on to the stock and support it in the long term.” He declined, however, to reveal any details.
As reported last week, Poon is seeking to acquire the 49.9 percent of the company he does not already own. He currently holds 50.1 percent of Harvey Nichols. His bid represents 35.5 percent premium over the closing price of $2.84 on Sept. 17, and a 46.5 percent premium over the average closing price of the shares during the past 30 days.
Deutsche Bank could easily block the bid. The bank holds 15 percent of Harvey Nichols, the equivalent of 30 percent of Harvey Nichols shares currently traded on the London Stock Exchange. To push the bid through, Poon needs approval from shareholders representing 75 percent of the stock held by the public, making Deutsche Bank’s approval critical.
On Tuesday, the stock closed at approximately $3.70, unchanged from its opening price. Dollar figures are translated from the English pound at current exchange rates.
Principals from Deutsche Bank’s fund management arm will be meeting with Harvey Nichols management at some point in the next week to discuss the future of Poon’s bid, which puts the total capitalization of the store at $212 million.
A Harvey Nichols spokeswoman declined to comment.
In a statement last week, Poon said his proposal represented “good and certain value for shareholders in turbulent equity markets” and that, in his opinion, the store is not realizing any material benefit from its listing, due to its small market capitalization and relative stock illiquidity.