Currys takeover battle looms as JD.com eyes bid

The Chinese e-commerce firm joins US investor Elliot as a possible bidder for the UK retail group.
Currys takeover battle looms as JD.com eyes bid
Currys signGetty Images

Currys could be at the centre of a takeover battle after Chinese e-commerce group JD.com said it was considering an offer for the company.

The potential bid emerged after Currys said at the weekend it had rejected a £700m takeover approach from US investment firm Elliott.

JD.com said it was “in the very preliminary stages” of evaluating a possible bid for the retailer.

Currys’ share price jumped by more than 30% as trading began on Monday.

The retailer has more than 800 stores globally and employs 28,000 people. In the UK, it operates about 300 stores with 15,000 staff.

On Saturday, Currys said it had turned down a takeover approach from Elliot of 62p per share, which would have valued it at about £700m, saying the offer “significantly undervalued” the company.

However, reports suggest that Elliott, which bought UK book shop chain Waterstones in 2018, could come back with a higher offer.

Currys’ share price has fallen by more than a third over the past year and on Friday, it closed at 47.08p, valuing the business at about £534m.

Following reports that it was also a potential bidder for Currys, JD.com issued a statement saying it was “in the very preliminary stages of evaluating a possible transaction that may include a cash offer” for the UK retailer.

“There can be no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made for Currys, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” JD.com added.

The rising cost of living has hit many retailers as consumers rein in spending, and Currys said last month that underlying sales had fallen 3% over the key Christmas trading period.

Despite this, the company increased its profit forecast for the year helped by cost cuts and higher profit margins on some of its services.

As well as the Currys stores in the UK and Ireland, the business trades under the Elkjøp brand in the Nordic region.

In November the company announced a deal to sell its Greek business, which trades under the Kotsovolos brand, for £175m.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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