By Patrick Avenell
MELBOURNE: JB Hi-Fi is not planning on buying or taking over Clive Peeters or any other retail group. That’s the message directly from JB Hi-Fi CEO Richard Uechtritz, who contacted Current.com.au this afternoon to set the record straight on a series of erroneous reports from a rival agency.
“We have no interest in any acquisition at this point in time,” said Uechtritz. “There is supposedly a recession on and we have plenty of opportunities to grow the JB Hi-Fi business just focusing on that.
“That’s all we’re doing until there’s signs of life at the end of the tunnel.”
Uechtritz explained that he had been alerted to stories claiming JB Hi-Fi was sizing up Clive Peeters by financial analysts. When first told of his supposed interest, he immediately dispelled the rumours, telling these analysts he hadn’t heard the stories and they were not based on fact.
“I was alerted to it by an analyst; he asked me if it was correct and I said I hadn’t seen it. I said ‘there’s no way’. You get incorrect media reports from time to time and I really didn’t give it too much thought.
Late last year, JB Hi-Fi itself was the subject of unfounded takeover reports, with Woolworths named as a potential buyer. Both parties, however, denied that any discussions took place. When asked what effect this sort of incorrect speculation had on a business, Uechtritz said it has the potential to cause stress within the ranks.
“I would have thought than any talk of being taken over would be more of a negative than a positive,” he said.
The same news article that wrongly claimed JB Hi-Fi was interested also named the Good Guys as a potential suitor. Current.com.au contacted the Muir Electrical Company for comment, but was not able to receive any further clarification.