WELLMAN IN PRICE-FIXING PROBE: Wellman Inc. said late Tuesday it had been informed by the Department of Justice that the firm is the target of a grand jury probe on price fixing on polyester staple fiber. The Shrewsbury, N.J.-based company in a statement denied engaging in price-fixing activities. The DOJ has been keeping a close eye on the fiber industry in recent years: In 2002, KoSa pled guilty to price fixing.
This story first appeared in the July 7, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
GREEN GETS A DEADLINE: English retail tycoon Philip Green has one month to make a bid for Marks & Spencer plc — or walk. The Takeover Panel, a U.K. regulatory body, said Green’s acquisitions vehicle Revival must make a bid by noon on Aug. 6 or announce it will not proceed. If he decides to back off, Green will then have to lie low for at least six months before approaching M&S again. Last month, Green made two separate bids for M&S, the highest of which valued the company at about $15.3 billion. Both bids were rejected outright by the M&S board. Later this week, Green plans to meet trustees of M&S’ pension scheme to discuss possible liabilities that could affect the price of a future offer. Meanwhile, the market is gearing up for a major presentation on July 12 by M&S’ new chief executive Stuart Rose. Rose is expected to lay out his strategy for the struggling retailer.
DOWNSIZE ME: Colette, Paris’ ubercool fashion emporium, is still buzzing with traffic on the weekends, but clearly the Rue Saint Honoré store has been hit by the downturn in tourist traffic to France. The retailer recently let go some 15 of its 80 employees. The store declined to comment, but it is believed to be going through restructuring to deal with the slower climate.
TIME TO BUILD: Swatch Group has acquired a building in Tokyo’s Ginza with the aim of expanding its luxury watch business in Japan. The Swiss firm said Tuesday it would destroy the current structure and solicit architects to erect a new building that would house several luxury watch shops as well as its logistics operations. The firm, which boasts 18 watch brands including Breguet, Blancpain, Omega and Swatch, said the building is expected to open by 2006.
FAST CHARITY: Hennes & Mauritz, the cheap-chic giant, said Tuesday it would donate $1.5 million to UNICEF’s girls’ education program and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Cambodia. The Swedish firm said the donation would be disbursed over a three-year period. H&M chief executive Rolf Eriksen said the donation underscored the firm’s “respect for human rights and the responsibility for the effects of our business on the local community.”