Briscoe plans takeover of Kathmandu

kathmandu2Briscoe Group has acquired 19.9 per cent of Kathmandu and says it plans to make a full takeover offer for the outdoor equipment and clothing chain.

Auckland-based Briscoe says it’s picked up 4.99 per cent of Kathmandu over time and has subsequently acquired 14.9 per cent of the target from institutional investors for $NZ1.80 ($A1.61) a share. That amounts to about a 29 per cent premium to Kathmandu’s closing price on Monday.

“I am excited by the potential that would arise from bringing together these two iconic retailers – we each have strong and recognisable brands that I see as complementary,” Briscoe Group MD, Rod Duke, said.

The full takeover offer would consist of cash and shares.

Duke is making a move on the trans-Tasman retailer Kathmandu after a 44 per cent slide in its stock price in the past 12 months.

In February, Kathmandu said Christmas and January trading had lagged behind expectations, driving the retailer to a first-half loss.

A month earlier, the company appointed Xavier Simonet to replace Peter Halkett, who left in November after eight years running the company.

Simonet commenced with Kathmandu  this week as CEO, replacing acting CEO, Mark Todd, who returns to his previous role as COO and finance director.

The company, which has 157 outlets, said in March it was slowing its pace of new store openings.

It said its full-year performance was dependent on favourable Easter and winter sales to restore margins that were squeezed by discounting over Christmas and January, particularly in Australia.

Briscoe said it wouldn’t comment further on its plans. The operator of the Briscoe homeware stores and Rebel Sport outlets was the subject of market speculation in January that it was looking at a bid for struggling childswear retailer, Pumpkin Patch.

In a statement, Kathmandu said it has had no contact with Briscoes and would not be making further about the imminent takeover offer at this stage.

As at January 25, Briscoe had NZ$89.7 million of cash and bank balances available.

Briscoe shares rose 0.4 per cent to $NZ2.86 and Kathmandu shares jumped 28 per cent to $NZ1.78.

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