Feb 1, 2018
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Specialty Fashion Group gets buyout offers, is a deal imminent?

Feb 1, 2018

The beleaguered Australian fashion retail sector was in the spotlight on Thursday as struggling Specialty Fashion Group said it’s in buyout talks.


The groups it’s talking to include one headed by its outgoing CEO Gary Perlstein and investors seem to like the idea of an imminent sale with the firm’s shares rising as a result. They closed up almost 14% Thursday having surged 9% already on Wednesday.

The company owns major chains in Australia including Millers, Katies, Autograph, Crossroads, City Chic and footwear label Rivers. And there seems to be no shortage of interested buyers beyond the group including Perlstein with SFG saying it has received several proposals to buy either the entire basket of brands or individual labels.

An independent committee, of which Perlstein (who leaves in two weeks’ time) isn’t a part, is looking at all its options.

And something certainly needs to be done. SFG turned in a net loss of A$8.39 million in the year to June 2017, which was worse than the prior year’s A$2.19 million loss. It also issued a profit warning in October so it looks like times are still tough for the business.

Cotton On founder Nigel Austin's company NAAR is the group's biggest shareholder with a 20.2% holding while Perlstein owns 9.3% and co-founder Ian Miller 8.7%.

The company has been on the block for some time and a year ago there had been speculation that Al Alfia Holding, the investment company controlled by the Qatari royal family, which bought Harrods in 2010, could be interested.

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