MEXICAN INVESTOR ACQUIRES 7% OF SAKS
NEW YORK — With its stock price at a 52-week low, Saks Inc. seems to be attracting more foreign investor interest.
Just last week, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing disclosed that Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, who runs diversified holding company Grupo Carso, and members of his family acquired a 7 percent stake, or roughly 10 million shares, of Saks Inc. The purchase was made through Orient Star, a company with a portfolio of investments, incorporated in Delaware, and Immobiliaria, another investment company in Mexico.
Saks Inc. stock rose 1 3/16, up 9.8 percent, to 13 1/4 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange as the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week with a 202.28 increase. On Thursday, Saks Inc. posted same-store sales up 8 percent for February. The stock has ranged from a high of 35 and a low of 10 9/16 in the last 52 weeks.
Saks Inc. is the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue and such regional department store chains as Carson Pirie Scott, Proffitt’s, Younkers, Herberger’s and Bergner’s.
Helu controls 86 percent of Grupo Sanborn, which operates the Sanborn department stores in Mexico, and an 85 percent stake in Sears, Roebuck in Mexico. He also has a 14 percent interest in CompUSA and significant stakes in communications, railways, mining, financial and cigarette companies.
Saks Inc. and Saks Fifth Avenue have a history of attracting foreign investors. Investcorp, the Bahrain-based investment group that once controlled Saks Fifth Avenue, still holds a 5.8 percent interest in Saks Inc.
Also, Ronald de Waal, vice chairman of Saks Inc., owns 1.9 percent of Saks Inc. He’s from Belgium and runs the We International specialty store chain operating in Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and France.
Southeastern Asset Management of Memphis, Tenn., as of last December held 9.7 million shares, or about 6.8 percent. And Fidelity, which once owned over 15.9 percent, currently owns under 5 percent of the stock.
During the Nineties, Saks Fifth Avenue attracted a number of foreign investors, including Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Abdulaziz of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who indirectly held about 10 percent of the company, and Trustees of the Estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, an educational charitable trust in Hawaii, which once held around 5 percent.