FIGHT­ING a war of pa­tience

Finweek English Edition - - COVER - BY PATRICK CAIRNS

FOR 17 YEARS Aus­tralian bil­lion­aire Solomon Lew sat on his 11.88% stake in Coun­try Road. For most of that time the share price went nowhere. There was so lit­tle vol­ume in the counter that Aus­tralian an­a­lysts didn’t pay it much at­ten­tion. But Lew, it seems, had a game plan. Some­where down the line, some­how, he was go­ing to make that stake pay. And now it ap­pears that that time has ar­rived.

Wool­worths just an­nounced a

AUS$ 213m ( R2.13bn) of­fer for t he 12.12% of Coun­try Road it does not al­ready own. The of­fer of AUS$17 per share is around 10 times what Lew paid for his in­ter­est back in 1997. It seems an amaz­ing wind­fall for some­one who is al­ready one of Aus­tralia’s rich­est men. But to un­der­stand how things got to this point, one needs to trace the story back to its be­gin­ning.

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