Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day targets Wyevale

by | Jul 5, 2018 | Business, Chains, News | 0 comments

Wyevale

A billionaire embroiled in the battle for control of Stobart has made a swoop for Wyevale Garden Centres.

Philip Day, who owns Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM), is understood to have put in an offer for the 145-strong chain which is being sold by tycoon Guy Hands.

Hands, 58, is thought to be seeking well above ?400million. However, it is believed Day’s bid is below this and could well be trumped.

Day, 52, who owns a 19th century Tudor mansion near Edmond Castle in Cumbria, has made a fortune snapping up prominent brands such as Jane Norman, Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jaeger.

But the reclusive billionaire is currently in the middle of a bust-up over the future of Southend Airport owner Stobart Group.

Rebels led by Stobart’s ex-boss Andrew Tinkler have put Day forward to replace Iain Ferguson, 63, as chairman.

Tinkler, 54, was last month fired from Stobart’s board amid accusations he is trying to subvert the company. The racehorse fanatic owns the ?3million Newby Grange next to Day’s castle in Cumbria, triggering questions about the pair’s independence.

The row has dragged in some of the City’s biggest names, with fund manager Neil Woodford backing Tinkler and Invesco backing Ferguson, while major shareholder M&G has also leapt in, putting forward ex-Asda boss Allan Leighton as an interim chairman to defuse the row.

Day has an estimated net worth of ?1.2billion. He is rarely seen in Britain and spends most of his time in Dubai.

Wyevale, which employs around 6,000 people, was put up for sale by Hands in May, who said it could be broken up or sold as a whole.

His private equity fund, Terra Firma, bought the chain in 2012 from the Garden Centre Group for about ?276million.

It had heavy debts following the financial crash, with major shareholders Lloyds Banking Group and Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter losing money.

Hands, ranked 455 in The Sunday Times Rich List, claims its turnaround is nearly complete, so now is the time to sell.

Wyevale’s latest accounts at Companies House, for the year ending December 2016, show it made a loss of ?120million on sales roughly flat at ?254million. However, it is understood it is on track to make a profit this year.

Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King now oversees Terra Firma’s portfolio.

Day’s EWM already operates concessions in some Wyevale Garden Centres. He is thought to be keen not to get into a bidding war for the company or overpay, but it is believed that Hands has already had offers from other firms.

Day’s bid for control of Stobart Group is set to come to a head at its annual general meeting tomorrow, when shareholders will vote on Ferguson’s re-election. If Ferguson loses, they will then vote on Day’s appointment on July 18.

His campaign took a hit on Tuesday when influential shareholder advisory group Glass Lewis recommended shareholders do not back him.

They said: ‘The dissidents have not articulated how appointing Mr Day to the board would improve corporate governance at the company or lead to a more favourable outcome for all shareholders.’

source

more latest news ➡

Burgon & Ball wins four stars at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

BURGON & BALL WINS FOUR STARS AT RHS CHELSEA

Burgon & Ball, creator of beautiful garden tools since 1730, has won four stars from the Royal Horticultural Society for its stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024. In its twenty-seventh year at the show, the Sheffield-based company has been honoured for the...

BOT shows catering performing well

Clothing and catering strong in April’s BoT figures

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) for April is out and shows clothing and catering leading the way when compared to the same month last year. There was also a positive, 3.77%, year-to-date variance, but 10 of the 13 categories recorded...

Hozelock auto reel mobile

Hozelock unveils ground-breaking automatic hose system

The demands of modern gardening have evolved as consumers search for more convenient and efficient methods for an array of tasks, from planting and pruning to garden watering. This year, Hozelock has expanded its’ extensive hose storage offering with the launch of...

Squire's achieves peat free milestone

Squire’s achieves peat free milestone

Squire’s Garden Centres has confirmed that it no longer sells any bagged compost containing peat. The UK government proposed to ban the sale of bagged compost containing peat to home gardeners in England by the end of 2024. Although the ban is not yet in force,...

Horticultural manager wanted

Opportunity for horticultural manager

A garden centre in the Ipswich area is looking for a new horticultural manager to run the plant area. The new recruit will lead and develop a small team whilst enjoying the freedom to make decisions. Garden Centre Horticultural Manager £32 – 35,000 + Package &...

Read GCR's latest edition!

Subscribe ToThe Wednesday Word

Subscribe To
The Wednesday Word

 

Get all the latest news, events & more straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This