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|| Al-Futtaim to buy Singapore's Robinson for $374 million

The story of Microsoft unsolicited bid to buy Yahoo is now a bit too old and all of us have moved on. But in the eastern hemisphere, a similar story unfolded in the past couple of weeks, involving a conglomerate from Dubai and a giant retailer in Singapore.

On January 20th 2008, only 9 days before the Microsoft offer, ALF Global, a subsidiary of Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group, announced that is has offered to buy all shares of Robinson and Company Limited (SIN:RBSS), a listed company in Singapore for $374 million.

The Robinson Group, with its founding company dating back to 1858, manages eight retail entities in Singapore and Malaysia under different brands. But Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based conglomerate of more than 40 subsidiaries, seems to be specifically interested in one of them: Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS). Robinson Group holds the franchise for Marks & Spencer in Singapore and Malaysia. (7 outlets in Singapore and 4 in Malaysia), while Al Futtaim operates 9 Marks & Spencer stores in the GCC.

So far Microsoft and Al-Futtaim offers had a similar effect: a ~50% jump in the share price of target companies. Let’s see how the story unfolds in the coming days ...

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