Saturday, July 5, 2008

What is Jan Cameron up to? (UPDATE 4)


What is Jan Cameron up to?

(PPG share purchase update) On Monday 5 July 2010 she bought 600,000 shares to take her holding in PPG to 19.26% or 7,702,537 shares. She previously held 17.76%.

Cameron, who sold a 51 % stake in her Kathmandu outdoor clothing company for NZ$275 million in 2006, would now own over 7 million shares in PPG for a sum of less than $5 million.

The 19.26% of PPG Cameron now owns is not far short of the 20% takeover threshold where if she wanted more of the company she would have to make an offer to all shareholders for their holdings.

Like her competitor in retailing, Rod Duke, who has recently built up a stake in Pumpkin Patch Ltd [PPL.NZ] she could be just taking advantage of beaten down stock prices, with a small non controlling stake in Postie Plus or building up a holding for a possible takeover. This doesn't seem likely though.

Jan likes control in her business life so it would be natural to assume that she could see herself as an outright owner of Postie Plus.

At current share prices, in theory at least, she wouldn't have to pay more than $14 million for the remaining 32 million shares in the company. Of course a premium would have to be paid for full control but either way she could probably grab the entire company for less than $20 million.

There is no doubt that Cameron is a canny business woman. She built Kathmandu from a small one store retailer in Melbourne in 1987 to a medium sized outdoor "lifestyle" chain with 46 stores, in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

Given her successful past there must be something that she sees in Posties Plus that makes its future better than it is currently.

Postie Plus has three different brands in its store stable. Postie Plus, Arbuckles and Baby City.

Out of these, Postie Plus is doing satisfactorily, Baby City are doing very well and Arbuckles, the manchester business was sold to Cameron in its entirety on June 10.

I could see how Cameron might be interested in Baby City as a brand to grow. This brand, specializing in baby clothing and accessories, is operating in a sector ripe for more branded chain store competition. Baby City really has only one serious branded competitor in New Zealand in Pumpkin Patch. With a little of Cameron's retailing magic Baby City could be a good place for her to start a much larger brand, although recent revelations that Cameron has bought a 6.3% stake in the Pumpkin might give that sort of speculation a lively twist.

The Postie Plus brand is a chain that has recently undergone a bit of a revamp. From selling conservative clothing to older people, especially women, it has now gone slightly more upmarket with a broader range of goods for a larger customer base. It is still struggling in the current economic downturn but with Cameron's retailing expertise and well known focus on minimising cost it could well do better under her guidance.

It is great to see one of New Zealand's more successful business women take an interest in a company with a beaten down capital value.

She likes to take control of her business interests (who doesn't) and is a very aggressive player.

She currently has a number of different retailing interests. A new one, Nood, a home wares store, is going head to head with Briscoe Group [BGR.NZ] Urban Loft stores. Like most New Zealand retailers, Briscoes is struggling at present.

With Cameron's track record and stake in Postie Plus it will be curious to see what her next move might be.

In October 2009 that question has been answered in that Jan has made a move against her former company Kathmandu, who is currently perusing and IPO, by making public her plans to go into competition with them in the outdoor clothing market.


Disclosure
: I own PPG, PPL, BGR shares




Jan Cameron @ Share Investor

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Kathmandu's 2011 Results Under Pressure from Jan Cameron
Kathmandu IPO: Jan Cameron lands a blow to IPO
What is Jan Cameron up to?


Kathmandu @ Share Investor

Kathmandu IPO: Prospectus Analysis
Kathmandu IPO: Jan Cameron lands a blow to IPO
Kathmandu IPO: What is it worth?
Kathmandu IPO: Retail Interest High
Kathmandu IPO: A tough mountain to climb
Kathmandu No.1 but IPO should get the Bullet
Download the detailed Kathmandu Value Cruncher Report - Requires free registration at Share Investor Forum to download
Download Kathmandu IPO Prospectus

Discuss Kathmandu at Share Investor Forum

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