Business

Currys should seek takeover deal worth around £1bn, says shareholder

JOHCM (JO Hambro Capital Management) UK Equity Income fund said an offer between 80p and 100p would be ‘acceptable’.

Currys has been the centre of takeover interest in recent weeks
A Curry's store Currys has been the centre of takeover interest in recent weeks (Currys/PA)

Currys should hold out for an offer of around £1 billion amid the tech retailer’s ongoing takeover saga, an investor in the firm has said.

JOHCM (JO Hambro Capital Management) UK Equity Income fund, a top 10 shareholder in the company, said an offer between 80p and 100p would be “acceptable”.

A 90p offer would value the business at around £1 billion, the institutional investor said.

It comes a week after Currys rejected a higher £757 million takeover approach from the US owner of Waterstones.

Activist investor Elliott Advisors had made a second proposed offer worth 67p a share, up from its initial unsuccessful 62p a share approach on February 19.

The second move was then also rebuffed, with the firm’s board claiming it “significantly undervalued the company and its future prospects”.

Elliott has until March 16 at 5pm to make a firm offer for Currys or walk away under City Takeover Panel rules.

Chinese retail giant JD.com has also said it was considering a possible deal to buy Currys last month.

On Tuesday, JOHCM UK equity income fund said it believed the value of the deal compared to the size of the retailer’s sales showed the current “absurdity” of the UK stock market.

Clive Beagles and James Lowen, senior fund managers at the fund, said: “Currys’ core business, with leadership positions in both online and offline markets across the Nordics and the UK, generates approximately £9.5 billion in sales.

“This clearly shows the absurdity of UK stock-market valuations, which we have discussed extensively in these reports over the last two years.

“Our normalised earnings per share for Curry’s is 12p, suggesting an exit per earnings of 8x at the top end of the range.

“Our range reflects some pragmatism, as we can rotate the value received into other very cheap stocks.”

Currys declined to comment.

Shares in the retailer edged slightly higher after the statement, rising by 0.6% to 66.45p.