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 ...
(Download our "Concise Directory of Investment Firms in the Middle East" to find out more about investment firms in the Middle East)