YEAR OF INTRIGUE
9 APRIL: Woolworths formalises a AUS$4 per share offer for a takeover of David Jones. The offer is supported by the David Jones board and trumps the nil-premium merger offer made by Australian retail company Coles Myer. The Coles Myer offer is withdrawn.
6 MAY: The takeover proposal is approved by Australia’s foreign investment review body, clearing what many believe is the final hurdle to the deal.
9 MAY: Solomon Lew’s investment company, Australian Retail Investments, begins picking up David Jones shares. The first acquisitions are made through a complex web of holding companies to cover his tracks.
16 JUNE: In a one- day market raid, companies linked to Lew pay AUS$104m for 26.8m David Jones shares. This takes his total holding to 53.1m shares, for which he has paid an estimated AUS$200m.
18 JUNE: In a substantial shareholder announcement on the ASX, Australian Retail Investments reveals that it has acquired 9.89% of David Jones. This is Lew’s first public acknowledgement that he is behind the buying. There is speculation that he could hold as much as 5.5% more via derivative swap contracts with Deutsche Bank.
30 MAY: Lew’s name appears on the David Jones share register for the first time. Although he is only directly linked to 0.65% of the company’s shares, this immediately sparks speculation that he may be positioning himself to block the deal.
17 JUNE: At a special meeting, Woolworths shareholders approve the AUS$ 4 a share offer for the entire listed capital of David Jones. This paves the way for a vote on 30 June by David Jones shareholders on whether to accept the offer.
19 JUNE: David Jones announces that it has postponed its shareholder vote until 14 July to allow its board to ‘assess the implications’ of Lew’s stake. The move is supported by Woolworths.
24 JUNE: Woolworths announces an offer of AUS$17 per share to buy out the minorities in Country Road. The offer is contingent on David Jones shareholders voting in favour of its takeover offer.