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Late bid for Barneys

July 8, 2007 10:00 by

Late developments on Istithmar’s bid to buy Barneys New York. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reports Fast Retailing have tabled an $890m bid for the retailer, topping the Dubai offer.

In June, Jones Apparel Group Inc., which owns the US luxury department store chain, agreed to sell to Istithmar for about $800m - but the agreement allows Jones to consider third-party proposals until July 22. If Jones will accepted the Fast Retailing bid it would have to pay $20.6 million in damages for breach of contract with Istithmar.

Fast Retailing’s main brand, Uniqlo, has established itself in the Japanese market, but the company has yet to build a profile abroad. Since 2003 the retailer acquired a stake in Link Theory Holdings Co., the marketer of premium brands Theory and Helmut Lang, purchased Creations Nelson S.A.S., of the Comptoir des Cotonniers apparel brand, and Petit Vehicule S.A.S., of the Princesse tam.tam lingerie brand. A 2006 bid for Hong Kong’s Giordano International was eventually abandoned.

Staying out East, Asian stocks rose on Monday and Seoul’s main index jumped almost 1.5 percent to hit another peak after strong US jobs data on Friday augured well for the global equity rally. The bump follows similar positive signals from India’s Sensex on Friday.

Reuters has the details.

The news wire also reports that worldwide investable assets such as stocks and bonds are expected to double by 2015 to almost $300 trillion. The report says ‘mom and pop’ investors are becoming more tolerant of risk-taking and more knowledgeable about global economies.

By 2025, they will quintuple to nearly $700 trillion with 60 percent of future growth coming from Russia, India and China, among the top prospect markets. That is more than twice the growth rate expected from developed markets like the United States, the study noted.

All of which means world markets - and mom and pop investors - will be watching with interest this week’s economic indicators from the US.

To China, where the China Daily says the country needs to tackle problems with food and drug quality otherwise it risks serious damage to its credibility on the international stage.

“Our country is facing a period with high risks for food safety,” Sun Xianze, a senior official with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), said. He said authorities faced an “arduous task” ahead.

A series of Chinese food exports ranging from pet food to seafood were alleged to contain hazardous chemicals, sparkling wide concerns over the country’s food and drug safety.

Finally, news of a couple of troubled launches.

The planned launch of Britain’s first mobile phone service that offers free calls and texts in return for users accepting adverts on their handsets has been delayed for several months, reports The Guardian.

Blyk, a start-up run by the former president of the Finnish mobile firm Nokia, was supposed to launch in June but it has gone back to the drawing board to make sure the service works properly. It is not expected to launch until October, said a spokesman for the company, which was co-founded and is run by Pekka Ala-Pietila.

And Chivas, the Pernod Ricard Scotch whisky brand, has launched an online TV channel, ‘This Is Life’ as it bids to arrest a drop in US sales. The channel will be hosted by MSN and extends the long-running ‘Chivas Life’ campaign.

The channel has come in for flak from industry insiders, reports Advertising Age. Beer brewer Anheuser-Busch drew fire from state law-enforcement officials over age-verification measures that some attorneys general deemed insufficient, Chivas’ age checks make A-B’s look fortress-like by comparison, it says.

The Chivas channel breaks as the brand has lost ground within the US to its chief rival, Diageo’s Johnnie Walker, despite fast-growing sales worldwide. Between 2000 and 2005, Chivas’ U.S. shipments declined about 1% annually, while Johnnie Walker Black Label - priced closest to Chivas - grew nearly 5% a year.

Today’s further reading

Australia’s economic ‘Tyranny of distance’

Credit-score revamp won’t halt mortgage fraud

Getting a handle on customer reviews

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