Woolworths Has No Idea Why Solomon Lew Bought A Huge Stake In David Jones

Woolworths has no idea what Solomon Lew wants with David Jones (Photo: Bloomberg)

The boss of the South African retailer hoping to take over David Jones has no idea why Solomon Lew has such a strong interest in the company.

Fairfax has a report which says Woolworths CEO Ian Moir has been meeting with institutional investors in the lead-up to a vote on the takeover.

These discussions have reportedly been overshadowed by speculation Lew may hold as much as 10 per cent of David Jones through derivatives positions.

No one really knows why Lew, who has a stake in the David Jones-owned Country Road, is apparently circling the retailer, but there has been speculation he could scuttle the deal.

Earlier, media reports said David Jones issued tracing notices on a chunk of shares that had changed hands, but that even if they were held by Lew, it was unlikely they could confirm this, as they were probably held through a complex financial arrangement using derivatives, or an economic swap deal.

Fairfax spoke with analysts and investors who were at the discussions with Moir. They explained the concern, with a vote of Woolworths shareholders scheduled for Tuesday night Australian time.

“They said they didn’t fully understand what the rationale was, but obviously there was all sorts of speculation,” Coronation Fund Managers portfolio manager Quinton Ivan, whose firm is Woolworths’ second-biggest shareholder, told Fairfax.

“Mr Lew is completely linked in all sorts of ways into the Australian retail sector,” Ivan said.

What exactly Lew plans to do with his shareholding, which includes a disclosed 0.65 per cent equity stake, could become clear after a meeting of David Jones shareholders in 15 days’ time.

There’s more here.

Now read: Why David Jones Probably Won’t Know Who Owns The Secret Stake Until The End Of June

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