Analysts at investment bank Goldman Sachs have told some of the UK’s largest supermarkets to close a fifth of their stores to combat increased competition.
Ever the retail maverick, Mike Ashley has turned his investor focus on Tesco, making a £43 million bet that shares in the supermarket will bounce back following revelations of a £250 million deficit in the retailer’s accounts earlier this week.
According to sources close to Reuters, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering making a bid for Hong Kong supermarket, ParknShop, valued at USD 4 billion. The acquisition is sparking interest from corporate and private equity buyers after Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, the conglomerate owned by Asian business mogul Li Kashing, put an August 16 deadline on the sale.
The Australian surf wear retailer Billabong International has received a AUD 766 million takeover offer from an undisclosed equity group. Australian Finance Review reported on Thursday that it is believed to be TPG Capital, although the source of the tipoff was not disclosed.
Discount retail group Peacocks is considering the closure of up to 200 shops to safeguard the company’s future. The closures would strike around one in five of Peacock’s stores, and are being discussed as part of a broad restructuring plan aimed at safeguarding the company’s future, according to Sky’s Mark Kleinman.
According to research from the company’s own broker, Goldman Sachs, the internet grocer will see earnings peak next year and decline in 2013.
Goldman Sachs analyst Karen Hooi downgraded her earnings-per-share forecast for this year and the next by 40 per cent, and by 50 per cent or above for 2013.
Although the figures will not be welcome news for Ocado just weeks before the company updates the City on trading, Hooi said her numbers had been adjusted to reflect “continued capacity concerns.”
Ocado was founded by three former Goldman Sachs bankers, and the US investment bank was one of the brokers that floated it last summer. However, concerns have been mounting over the etailer’s relationship with Waitrose, which this year introduced a new home delivery service for its groceries within the M25, Ocado’s most lucrative region.
Fashion retailer Jack Wills is preparing for a stake sale or float next year which could value the retailer at up to £500m. Reports suggest that the retailer is in talks to appoint Goldman Sachs to advise it on its options. The general understanding of the situation within journalistic circles is that a sale of a stake is more likely than a float, at least for the moment. Founders Peter Williams and Robert Shaw own around 70 percent of the business between them with private equity firm Inflexion holding the remaining shares. Any deal is likely to be done in 2012.
Malcolm Walker is in cahoots with Goldman Sachs as he attempts to garner support for his efforts to regain control of the supermarket chain he founded over forty years ago.
A loan from the banking giant is one of many options being considered by Walker. Other ideas are the purchase of part of majority shareholder Landsbanki's stake and private equity support has not been entirely ruled out, but stands as more of a last resort for Iceland at this time.
Rival supermarkets Asda and Morrisons are said to be keeping a keen eye on the developments, sparking speculation that Iceland could attract a price-tag of as much as £2bn.
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