Thursday 18 July 2019

Philip Day on track to take Bonmarche private as investor sells out

Artemis has offloaded its stake in the brand.

Bonmarche is likely to leave the stock market under new ownership (PA)
Bonmarche is likely to leave the stock market under new ownership (PA)

By Alys Key, PA City Reporter

Philip Day is on track to take retailer Bonmarche private after the last major institutional shareholder sold its stake in the company.

Artemis Investment Management, which held a stake of more than 12% in Bonmarche, offloaded its holding on Tuesday.

The sale puts Mr Day’s vehicle Spectre above the necessary 75% threshold to take the company off the stock market.

It follows the exit of Cavendish, another significant shareholder which held 10.8% of the company, last month.

Both funds accepted the 11.4p-a-share made by Mr Day, who is also the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, before its scheduled closure on Friday.

The takeover offer, which was made in early April, valued the company at £5.7 million and was triggered when Mr Day’s holding company Spectre acquired more than 50% of shares in the firm.

But Spectre announced in late June that it would close the offer this Friday, following a trading update from the Bonmarche saying it had reconsidered Mr Day’s offer after previously rebuffing it.

It also revealed its auditor may include a reference to the uncertainty over its ability to keep trading as a going concern in full-year accounts due to its deteriorating performance.

The warning triggered fears from some investors that the company could be on the verge of administration.

Spectre now owns around 83% of the company and will likely move to de-list it once the offer closes this week.

Under current rules, it would take 25 days and a shareholder vote for the company to de-list.

However, if more investors sell out to Spectre this week and push its holding above 90%, the process could be shortened to just 14 days.

Mr Day’s team has previously outlined plans to conduct a store-by-store review of the Bonmarche estate and embark on a turnaround plan which will involve job losses.

Shares in Bonmarche were trading 5.8% lower at 11.07p on Wednesday afternoon.

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