UPDATED: David Jones in ASX trading halt following acquisition withdrawal

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, David Jones has informed the ASX that EB Private Equity has withdrawn its 100 per cent offer for the company. According to David Jones executive director Stephen Goddard, EB Private Equity withdrew the offer due to the “recent publicity” surrounding the proposal.

ORIGINAL STORY:

David Jones Limited has been placed in a trading halt on the Australia Securities Exchange (ASX) following an advance by little-known British company EB Private Equity to purchase the company.

Caroline Waldron, David Jones company secretary, wrote to the ASX today requesting the trading halt, which will be in place until Wednesday 4 July 2012 or when a further announcement is released to the market.

“In light of correspondence received from EB Private Equity, a trading halt is requested pending finalisation of an ASX announcement,” Waldron wrote to the ASX. “The company considers a trading halt to be appropriate in the circumstances.”

News of this purchase advance was revealed by David Jones last Friday afternoon (29 June 2012), when it alerted the ASX via a release.

“The chairman of David Jones Limited, Mr Robert Savage, this morning advised that the company had received an unsolicited letter from a non-incorporated UK entity, about which no usual public information is available, indicating its interest in making an offer for the company,” wrote a spokesperson.

“The directors do not believe they currently have relevant information to enable them to qualify or value the approach but, should this change, will advise the market accordingly.

“In the meantime, the directors recommend that shareholders treat any related market comment cautiously.”

Later that day, a second announcement to the ASX revealed the mystery company to be EB Private Equity.

In a revealing article in the Sydney Morning Herald today, EB Private Equity is described as a “British and Luxembourg-based investment fund” that has marketed, amongst other things, premium non-alcoholic beverages for Middle Eastern markets.

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