David Jones has issued tracing notices on 50 million shares purchased last week, according to The Australian Financial Review.
The shares changed hands on Friday, the same day it was reported that retail magnate Solomon Lew had taken a $14 million, 0.65% stake in David Jones over the past two weeks.
There is some speculation that Lew may be attempting to block a takeover proposal put forward by South African retail giant Woolworths — but he has not commented on his plans.
The Fin says the shares are held by Deutsche Bank and UBS. David Jones is satisfied UBS is holding on behalf of hedge funds, and that DB has taken the stake on behalf of its fund managers in the UK and Australia — as well as other investors.
There’s also a chance some of Lew’s (speculated) holdings could be in derivatives — in which case we won’t know about them until the combined equity and derivative holding goes over 5%.
As the report points out, the scheme of arrangement between Woolworths and DJs requires the support of 50% of shareholders holding 75% of the shares.
Only about 60% of shares are usually voted at scheme meetings, so Lew could potentially affect the outcome of the vote with only 15% of DJs.
But why he would want to remains to be seen.
The takeover would benefit some of his labels such as Country Road — which Woolworths wants to get behind, although it would potentially see some of his other lines such as Voyager and Playcorp disadvantaged if they are replaced in DJs stores by Woolworths’ private labels.
There’s more here.