Myer’s largest shareholder, Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, asked for a list of its owners on Wednesday afternoon, fuelling speculation that the owner of Smiggle, Peter Alexander and Just Jeans is gearing up to launch a takeover of the struggling department store.
In a statement issued to the ASX, Premier Investments advised shareholders that it would “consider writing to Myer’s members in relation to any resolutions proposed at Myer’s AGM this year”.
Investors interpreted the move as a push for board representation, and a possible precursor to a full takeover of the retailer.
For nearly a year, Lew has repeatedly pushed to appoint his own nominees to the Myer board. After the retailer announced a $515 million write down on its goodwill and brand name in March, he called for chairman Garry Hounsell to step down.
“Today’s result provides further evidence, if any was needed, that the Myer Board should be removed and replaced as soon as possible if the company has any hope of surviving,” Lew said at the time.
In September, Myer posted a $486 million net loss over the 52 weeks to July 2018, compared to an $11.9 million net profit the year prior.
Hounsell acknowledged the results were disappointing. Newly appointed CEO John King, who took the helm after Richard Umbers stepped down in February, said shareholders deserved better.
Myer shares rose as much as 8.8 per cent to 55.5 cents near a two-week high, on Wednesday.