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Monday, 13 December, 1999, 10:40 GMT
Entrepreneur may bid for M&S

M&S Marble Arch Marks & Spencer has seen its profits slide in recent years


Corporate raider Philip Green may bid for troubled retail giant Marks & Spencer.

In response to weekend speculation that a bid was imminent, Mr Green said on Monday that he "regularly reviews investment opportunities in the UK retail sector."

But it was too early to say whether he would put a takeover proposal to the Marks & Spencer board, he said.

Tesco is also reported to be considering a bid for Marks & Spencer.

In early trade on Monday, Marks & Spencer shares jumped 8% to 325 pence, valuing the group at about 9.3bn.

Shares later slipped to 300 pence, amidst market talk that the current share price may place the retailer out of the price range of the potential bidders.

Mr Green's reputation as a corporate raider was sealed when he bid for retail group Sears.

Philip Green is a noted retail specialist and his January Investments is also backed by the wealthy Barclay twins, among Britain's richest businessmen.

January Investments bid of 548m for Sears was accepted in January this year. The company, which had struggled for most of the 1990s, had been a name in UK retail for 108 years.

Following the sale of Sears, the company was broken up, with Arcadia buying its womenswear shops. At this stage, reports say Mr Green wants to run Marks & Spencer, not break it up.

UK shopping list

A report in the Sunday Telegraph said he had compiled a bid shortlist of six UK retail companies.

These are thought to include Arcadia, the company behind Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins, the Storehouse Group and New Look.

Marks & Spencer shares jumped on Friday on news that a bid was imminent

The group has seen its profits plummet this year, prompting it to cut contracts with its UK clothing suppliers in a bid to improve profits.

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See also:
13 Dec 99 |  Business
Retail genius to strike again
13 Dec 99 |  Business
Timetable of a merger
05 Nov 99 |  The Economy
Spending trouble in store
02 Nov 99 |  The Company File
Marks fights back against slump
01 Nov 99 |  The Company File
M&S 'turning its back on Britain'
21 Jan 99 |  The Company File
Sears turns to Green

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