Roger Saul, chairman and director of Mulberry Group PLC, has accused his Singapore-based partners Ong Beng Seng and Christina Ong of trying to wrest control of the company without making a fair bid to shareholders.
Saul and Mulberry issued a statement Monday after the Ongs requested an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to oust him as chairman and director of Mulberry PLC. The Ongs, who own 41.5 percent of the U.K. fashion and accessories firm through a company called Challice, wrote to shareholders over the weekend requesting the meeting.
A Mulberry spokesman said the meeting would be held over the next 28 days.
"We have asked for Roger Saul not to be involved in the day-to-day running of the business," a Challice spokesman told WWD on Monday. "The reason is his disappointing performance over the course of many years."
Mulberry’s executive board, which has a 42.5 percent stake in the group, said in the statement it supported Saul and viewed the Ongs’ move as "a veiled attempt" to take control of Mulberry without making a fair offer to shareholders. The group is quoted on the London Stock Exchange.
Saul, who owns 38 percent of Mulberry shares, said in the statement that the Ongs had reneged on their promise to roll out the Mulberry business in the U.S., and tried to seize control of the company.
"When I initiated this relationship with the Ongs, it was on the absolute condition that they would finance and fulfill Mulberry’s rollout program in the United States. This program has not been forthcoming, despite ongoing promises from Challice. The Ongs have repeatedly tried, by various means, to take control of Mulberry without honoring this commitment."
He added that the Ongs’ "refusal to either support the group or withdraw as a major shareholder is clearly jeopardizing Mulberry’s ability to exploit the brand potential at a time when Mulberry is popular worldwide."
As reported, the Ongs decided to put Mulberry’s U.S. store rollout on ice due to a cloudy economic outlook. Mulberry had planned to open five stores in the U.S. over the next few years, with the first — a Manhattan flagship — slated to open this fall.At the time, Saul said he was disappointed in their decision, but that there was "no point in going ahead with those plans in a climate like this."
As reported, in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002, Mulberry posted a net loss of $2.6 million compared with net income of $451,500 last year. Sales grew 8 percent to $42 million. The company attributed the loss mainly to one-time costs such as store closures and the loss of revenue linked to refurbishment of Mulberry’s Bond Street store, which was closed temporarily. But Mulberry has had a bumpy financial performance since it went public in September 2000, swinging from booming profits at that time into declining profits or a loss ever since as a result of the weakening economy and a continuing revamp of the brand.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)