Monday, January 26, 2009

When will The Warehouse bidders make their move?

The length of time that has passed between The Warehouse Group [WHS.NZ] deciding to drop their "Extra" format stores-the impediment that the Commerce Commission most recently successfully argued in the Court of Appeal was the reason the company couldn't be sold to its two current suitors-doesn't look encouraging for any positive outcome anytime soon.

Just when are they going to make a move?

In January, The Australian reported that both The Warehouse' suitors were "still considering" a purchase of the company .

There are a few reasons why Foodstuffs and Woolworths Australia [WOW.ASX] The Warehouse' two suitors, might be delaying or reconsidering a move.

1. the current uncertain economic climate might make a bid less attractive. I would argue that any bidder might be able to turn this to their advantage though by being able to bid lower.

2. capital maybe harder to obtain in order to make a bid.

3. both suitors could be waiting for a decision in the Supreme Court where Woolworths has sought leave to apply to have the Appeal Court decision quashed

4. Waiting for a response from the Commerce Commission to The Warehouse decision to dump their "extra" format stores.

5. A new proposal from founder and majority shareholder Stephen Tindall to take the business private.

The biggest impediment to a quicker sale process is The Commerce Commission's Paula Rebstock and her failure to make a ruling post the Warehouse ditching their Extra format stores in October 2008.

The Extra format stores were the main impediment, from the Commission's point of view, for denying the sale of The Warehouse and now that they have gone a positive announcement in The Warehouse favour on this matter would let the bidding process begin.

Disclosure: I own WHS shares

The Warehouse Group @ Share Investor

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The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy

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