Currys rejects takeover bid from US investment group Elliott | Retail industry

Currys has rejected a takeover bid from the US investment group Elliott, saying the offer significantly undervalued its business.

Elliott, which owns the book chain Waterstones and has a controlling stake in the food chain Wasabi, tabled an unsolicited £700m bid for the electrical goods retailer – at 62p a share, a 32% premium to its latest share price. Currys was valued at £533m at the close of trading on the London stock market on Friday.

A deal would heighten fears that London’s status as a premier listings market is under threat, with the number of listed companies shrinking by more than 12% during the past three years, according to the Quoted Companies Alliance.

A spate of takeovers by US and European private equity firms could continue this year while sterling remains weak. Last year, the Swedish private equity firm EQT bought Yorkshire-based Dechra Pharmaceuticals in a £4.5bn deal, while US-based CVC bought the retailer Ted Baker for £300m.

Currys said in a statement: “The board confirms that it received an unsolicited, preliminary and conditional proposal from Elliott regarding a possible cash offer.

“[We] considered the proposal, together with [our] financial advisers, and concluded that it significantly undervalued the company and its future prospects.”

In 2021, Currys shifted its strategy to merge the four brands it operated – which included PC World, Dixons and Carphone Warehouse – into one master brand.

In November last year, Currys struck a £175m deal to sell its Greek business.

During the pandemic, the retailer closed the 531 Carphone Warehouse stores it owned in the UK, with the loss of 2,900 jobs. ​​

Currys now employs more than 15,000 people in the UK, trading from about 300 stores.

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In 2018, Currys hired Shop Direct’s Alex Baldock as chief executive after Sebastian James resigned from the role to run Boots.

Currys was founded in 1884 by Henry Curry as a bicycle-building business before diversifying into the sale of toys, gramophones and radios when it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1927.

News of the takeover bid was first reported by Sky News.

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