Myer in surprise merger bid for Premier Investments’ nationwide clothing chains

Sean Smith
The Nightly
Premier Investments chairman Solomon Lew.
Premier Investments chairman Solomon Lew. Credit: JULIAN SMITH/AAPIMAGE

Myer is offering to buy Premier Investments’ nationwide network of clothing chains in a move that would see Premier chairman Solomon Lew join the rival’s board.

The complex proposal, which is being considered by Premier, would see Myer swap shares for Premier’s Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Portmans, Jacqui and Dotti brands.

However, as part of the suggested deal, Premier’s 31.4 per cent stake in Myer would be spun out to its shareholders, leaving Mr Lew as Myer’s biggest shareholder but with just under the current Premier stake.

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Myer shares leapt 19 per cent to 76¢ to recapitalise the group at $536 million after the announcement, while Premier rose 4 per cent to $31.22.

Premier’s Apparel Brands business has 717 stores around the country that turned over $843m in the 2023 financial year.

The proposal is part of a broader strategic review being undertaken by Myer’s new executive chair and former Qantas executive, Olivia Wirth.

“While Myer has one of Australia’s strongest retail brands, store networks and loyalty programs, there is a significant opportunity to reinvest in our product offering, customer engagement capabilities and further optimise our supply chain to achieve our full potential,” Ms Wirth said.

“Myer is exploring both organic and inorganic investment opportunities that align with our strategic focus areas to create value for Myer shareholders.

“It quickly became clear that the idea of a combination of Myer and Apparel Brands offered significant potential synergies and prospects for growth, evidently warranting further examination.”

Premier said it was considering the proposal, saying it “believes that there may be a meaningful opportunity for both businesses from the proposal”.

“The proposed combination has the potential to deliver a step change in Myer’s scale and market position, deliver synergies and drive sustainable earnings growth,” it said.

If finalised, Myer said Mr Lew’s Plaza Investments would be offered a seat on its board. Premier said that would go to Mr Lew, adding he would be “prepared to play an active role” at the department store chain.

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