South Africa’s Woolworths has stepped up pressure on businessman Solomon Lew vowing not to improve its $200 million-plus offer to buy out his Country Road stake.
The retail billionaire is yet to respond to the offer for his 11.9 per cent Country Road stake and agree to sell his 9.89 per cent stake in David Jones to the South African retailer.
Analysts believe Mr Lew has been seeking a generous offer from Woolworths to end the two’s often rocky association which began 17 years ago when the businessman bought into Country Road to stop Woolworths taking full control.
Woolworths says it is willing to pay a generous $17 per share for the 12.2 per cent of Country Road it does not own, well above its recent market value.
The shares have risen 20 per cent in the last week, to $16.80.
Woolworths on Monday said its offer for the Country Road shares was final, would not be increased and was conditional on the success of its $2.2 billion bid to acquire David Jones.
“There has been considerable uncertainty around the David Jones transaction over the last few weeks,” Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir said in Monday’s statement.
“I think everyone needs a clear and timely resolution of this situation.”