Superdry denies reports founder wants to take it private
There have been persistent rumours that founder and CEO Julian Dunkerton is planning to take Superdry private, but on Thursday he poured cold water on the speculation.
In a stock exchange statement, the company said that Dunkerton “notes recent press reports”, but regarding a de-listing from the stock exchange in a go-private deal, there are “no plans to do this at the moment”.
Of course, this doesn’t mean it will never happen. The stock exchange statement continued that “Julian Dunkerton and any person(s) acting in concert with him reserve the right to make or participate in an offer for Superdry within the next six months following the date of this announcement”.
That could happen in certain circumstances such as a third-party stepping in with a firm offer.
But as it stands, the Sunday Times report in December that Dunkerton had been looking at a transaction to roll his near-22% stake in the business into a private company, looks to have been somewhat off the mark.
That’s perhaps no surprise given that the report also cited a source close to the business saying Dunkerton wasn’t keen to agree to any deal that would add significantly to Superdry’s debt load.
After the company scotched the speculation, its shares rose by a few percent in early Thursday trading, valuing the firm at almost £100 million. But that market value is down sharply from early 2018 when its shares were changing hands for a price more than 15 times higher than today’s share price, valuing the firm at well over a billion pounds.
That low share price makes an outside takeover attempt more likely, as does the weak pound, which makes British assets look cheap to deep-pocketed acquisition-hungry groups.
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