American company Destination Maternity tried to buy British baby chain Mothercare, but both the 340 million euro bid and a visit from the American CEO have failed to impress the large shareholders (so far).
Over 340 million euro: "Inadequate"
"We believe there is a compelling strategic rationale for the combination, which would create the undisputed global leader in maternity, baby and young children's apparel and products", CEO Ed Krell told Mothercare's two most important institutional shareholders (Fidelity and Allianz Global Investors).
He had flown to London from the United States to convince the shareholders to press Mothercare chairman Alan Parker to agree to a take-over. Parker had previously stated that 340 million euro was too low an offer and "did not reflect the inherent value of Mothercare to our shareholders or its prospects for recovery and growth".
The American had to fly back empty-handed: "We're not interested in a bid. We think it was an inadequate offer well below the true value of the company", Allianz' Simon Gergel said. His partner at Fidelity, Paras Anand, was even more poignant: "Given the absence of a chief executive at Mothercare, the approach by Destination Maternity could clearly be viewed as opportunistic. We would prefer the business to continue on a standalone basis."
It remains to be seen whether Destination Maternity will table a higher bid, something it is allowed to do - under British law - until 30 July. Once that day has passed, it will have to wait another 6 months before it can table another bid.
Mothercare has more than 1,000 stores in 60 countries, partially self-owned and partially as franchise stores. There are two stores in Brussels, both in shopping galleries (Gulden Vlies/Louiza and City2).