Billionaire keeps £6m offer for Bonmarché open despite rebuff

Spectre Holdings, the vehicle of billionaire Philip Day, has said it will keep open its offer for Wakefield-based high street retailer Bonmarché “until further notice”.

In a market update yesterday, Spectre said it had reviewed a circular sent by the board of the retailer to its shareholders, and that it would “now take a step back and see if the Bonmarché board can deliver on the plans and strategy it has set out”.

It originally made the offer, which amounts to £5.73m, in April, following the acquisition of 52% of the business by Day’s Dubai-based vehicle.

Rule 9 of the Takeover Code requires that where a person acquires an interest in shares which carry 30% or more of the voting rights of a company, they are required to make a mandatory cash offer for the entire issued equity share capital of the company.

Following the rebuff of its offer, Spectre has now adopted a ‘wait and see’ tactic. Day already owns retail chains Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Peacocks.

Spectre said it did not think that the proposed plans would deliver value for shareholders of Bonmarché in the long run. It said: “Unfortunately, Spectre does not believe the cost saving plan announced by the Bonmarché board will be sufficient to return Bonmarché to profitability.”

It said the cost-saving strategy set out by the Bonmarché board “conveniently followed Spectre’s views” in their offer document. The retailer has said that pre-tax losses would amount to between £5m and £6m for the year.

Bonmarché has endured a torrid time in recent years, with its share price losing 95% of its value since December 2015 in the wake of profit warnings and the wider pressure on high street retailers.