Lew Moves To Spill Myer Board
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Investors have ignored the news that Myer’s largest shareholder, Premier Investments, is planning to call a hostile extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to try and roll the department store’s board.
In fact the lack of any positive reaction in either the Myer or Premier Investments share price could be seen as a rejection of this approach which is being seen as just another stratagem by Premier and its chairman, Solomon Lew, to grab control of Myer on the cheap and without paying a premium for control.
Premier owns 10.1% of Myer bought at an average price of around $1.14 and is losing heavily on the play - Myer shares traded at 63.5 cents yesterday, down 2.3% on the day. Myer shares are down around 50% over the past year and most of that loss has been felt by Mr Lew and Premier.
Premier shares dipped 0.3 to $14. This was in a market that was up just over 1% yesterday in a dead cat bounce from the big falls of Monday and Tuesday.
Premier has requested a copy of the Myer shareholder register to start the process for calling an EGM, at which it would put forward an alternative board.
Myer has already rejected three directors that Premier put forward during an acrimonious dispute between the two retail giants late last year.
Premier said it would "caucus with other Myer shareholders to determine appropriate independent candidates for the remainder of the new Myer board to be put to all shareholders for voting at the proposed EGM".
Myer and shareholders (including Premier) may have to carry the costs of the meeting, although if Premier was fair dinkum it would offer to meet the costs of its move.
“Premier strongly believes that a new Myer board with relevant expertise and experience in retail, property and business is required as a matter of urgency,” Premier said in a statement.
“It is not in the best interests of shareholders that the current Myer board be allowed to preside over another year of declining sales, eroding profits and further share price deterioration before urgently needed change is introduced.”
Myer AGM last November saw protest votes of about 30% against the appointment of new its chairman Garry Hounsell, and directors Julie Ann Morrison and JoAnne Stephenson.
That means about 20% of non-Premier shareholders have already backed Mr Lew.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.