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In Brief: Sears Drops Canada Bid… Nautica and Callanen Keep Ticking… Austin Reed Set for Sale

Holding Corp. has withdrawn its bid to privatize Sears Canada.

SEARS DROPS CANADA BID: Sears Holding Corp. has withdrawn its bid to privatize Sears Canada, after minority shareholders rejected the takeover Tuesday. Sears Holdings owns 54 percent of the Canadian retailer but can’t take it private unless the holders of a majority of Sears Canada’s minority shares approve the deal, which is valued at about $880 million. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that Illinois-based Sears Holdings could not appeal a September lower court decision that upheld an August ruling by the Ontario Securities Commission. The OSC had ruled Sears Holdings failed to disclose information related to support agreements with its investment banks that gave the banks a better deal than that offered to minority shareholders. The OSC ordered Sears Holdings to distribute another circular that excluded the banks from voting on the buyout offer, which was voted down by the minority shareholders.

NAUTICA AND CALLANEN KEEP TICKING: Nautica Apparel Inc. and Callanen International are winding up for the future. The lifestyle brand said Monday that it has renewed its licensing agreement with Callanen to manufacture, market, distribute and sell women’s and men’s watches, watchbands and watch components. The license runs to 2011. Nautica first signed on with Callanen in 1992. Nautica timepieces are distributed in department stores, watch specialty stores and jewelry stores worldwide. The brand is a subsidiary of VF Sportswear Inc., a division of VF Corp. Callanen, a division of the Timex Group, and also manufactures and distributes watches for Marc Ecko, Country Club and Versace.

AUSTIN REED SET FOR SALE: Darius Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of the London-based Dawnay Day Corporate Finance, has made a bid for Austin Reed, the classic British men’s and women’s wear retailer. Austin Reed’s directors have recommended the company’s shareholders accept the offer, which values the company at 49 million pounds, or $92.8 million. Darius Capital, controlled by Guy Naggar and Peter Klimt, currently holds a 39 percent stake in Austin Reed. If the sale goes through, Darius Capital plans to pull Austin Reed off the London Stock Exchange. However, Darius Capital has made clear the sale would not affect Austin Reed’s licensing deals, including its women’s and men’s wear license with Hartmarx in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the November 15, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.