Speculation is rife in the UK media today that Icelandic company Baugur Group is planning a takeover of British retailer Woolworths in order to divide up and re-sell sections of the chain. This is reported by RÚV online.
According to the Financial Times, Baugur Group, which currently holds a 10 percent stake in Woolworths, is planning a takeover of the company, the total value of which is estimated at GBP 490 million. Baugur Group then intends to diminish operations and reduce the number of stores, which currently number some 800 throughout Britain. The paper speculates further that Baugur intends to sell both a DVD production company and distribution company owned by Woolworths.
Share prices in Woolworths went up by 3 percent at the opening of the London Stock Exchange this morning, as a result of the news. Times online claims that Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson is pressing for a takeover, while Baugur’s UK Managing Director Gunnar Sigurdsson is taking a more cautious approach. Baugur’s representatives could not be reached for comment this morning.