Woolworths Rejects Apax Bid

British retailer Woolworths Group plc has rejected a bid approach from private equity firm Apax Partners. Woolworths said that Apax had made an indicative proposal of 50-55p per share, valuing it at

British retailer Woolworths Group plc has rejected a bid approach from private equity firm Apax Partners.

In a statement issued yesterday (Feb. 8), Woolworths said that Apax had made an indicative proposal of 50-55p per share, valuing it at up to £790 million ($1.46 billion). The offer however was subject to pre-conditions, including access to its financial and trading information.

Woolworths' stock closed up 1.6% at 48.75p on Tuesday; the high-end of Apex' offer range represents a 15% bid premium.

In its statement, Woolworths said that although its board had carefully considered the proposal, it concluded that the range indicated did not provide “acceptable value or certainty to justify entering into detailed discussions" with the firm.

Woolworths has long been a leading player in British music retail. In 2003, the 800-plus store chain accounted for 11.2% of album sales and 29.5% of singles sales in the United Kingdom, according to figures published by the British Phonographic Industry.

The retailer confirmed Apex' initial approach on Jan. 31, which in turn upped its shareprice by 21% on the day's trading.

Apex has yet to comment on whether it would return with a higher offer.
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