Myer & Lew Tensions Worsen: “The Numbers Don’t Lie”
Tensions between billionaire Solomon Lew and department store retailer Myer only seems to be getting worse, following the release of a bulletin by Lew’s Premier Investments which compared its share price to Myer’s over the past eight years.
Accompanied by a title stating “the numbers don’t lie”, the graph (below) reflects Premier Investment’s $2.1 billion market cap, against the Myer’s $616 million market cap.
The graph illustrates the vast difference in performance between the two entities, dating back to October 2009.Since that time – according to the graph – Premier’s shares have jumped 62%, whilst Myer’s shares have declined 82% in the same period.
Premier’s accompanying statement reads:
“More than $2 billion of Myer shareholders’ funds destroyed”
“It’s time for Myer shareholders to be heard. We encourage long-suffering Myer shareholders to vote accordingly at the Myer AGM”
“Myer shareholders want change, not more of the same”.
Premier Investments is Myer’s largest shareholder and reportedly holds a 10.7% stake in the retailer.
The investment group has recently declared its intention to vote against the appointment of directors proposed in Myer’s recent notice of meeting.
Reports state Premier Investments may also call an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting), allowing shareholders to vote on its nominees for Myer’s board – this includes two Premier Independent Directors and one [non-Premier] Non-Executive Director.
Outgoing Myer Chairman, Paul McClintock states Myer’s board has rejected the proposal, given a potential conflict of interest with Premier Investments and its associates’ position as one of Myer’s largest suppliers and competitors.
Addressed to Myer’s shareholders, Chairman of Premier Investments Solomon Lew has remarked on his “complete disappointment and frustration” with Myer’s Board of Directors:
“In my view, and based on my personal experience in many Myer stores, Myer has lost its way. It has too much product that people simply don’t want to buy. Its stores – particularly those in suburban and regional areas – are disorderly, and it has not invested in frontline customer service”
“Premier will be attending the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and voicing these and many other concerns. We take no pleasure in doing so – in fact we are very saddened to see the state of this once great Australian company – but we are no longer prepared to put up with being shut out by the Board”
“Our greatest criticism of Myer is the lack of mass-merchandise retail experience on the Board. How can the directors possibly advise management and keep them on their toes? How can they add any value to discussions about strategy, pricing, ranging, distribution, property, store locations, customer service, supplier relationships and all of the other critical elements of successful retailers?”.
Premier Investments has requested that Myer announces its Q1FY2018 earnings report prior to its ‘Strategy Day’ on November first, to ensure “the market is fully informed when assessing the strategy”.