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Bendon bid timetable unchanged

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Monday 21st January 2002

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Lingerie company Bendon (NZSE: BEN) says the timetable for receiving binding offers for the company remains unchanged, despite last week's full takeover bid from Pacific Retail Group (NZSE: PRG).

PRG, which bought 15.5% of Bendon last week and has an option on a further 3.55%, announced a full takeover for the company late Friday at $1.90 per share.

Bendon's directors say they are working with their advisors to take appropriate actions in relation to the takeover notice, including the appointment of an independent advisor to report on the merits of the offer.

"Late last week, the independent directors in conjunction with the board's advisors PricewaterhouseCoopers, met separately with representatives of Pacific Retail Group Limited and AMP Henderson Global Investors to discuss the announcements made during the course of the week.

"The board advises that they have decided to continue with the current process to allow interested parties to undertake due diligence on Bendon Limited and in addition on BGL. Due diligence on BGL will be subject to receipt of appropriate waivers from the NZSE.

The company says the timeframe set for receiving binding offers remains unchanged at on or before February 1.

"The board continues to carefully monitor the situation with its advisor PricewaterhouseCoopers and will make further statements to the Exchange and investors at the appropriate times.

"The concern of the Board continues to be to maximise the value of BGL for all of its shareholders, through the current competitive process."

IPRG claims its offer would represent a premium above the current management buyout offer, which is estimated to return around $1.81 per share to shareholders.

The management buyout offer has been made by current Bendon MD, Hugo Venter, with the support of Bendon's biggest shareholder, AMP Henderson Global Investors.

Although PRG's interest in the Bendon has come as a surprise, the Sunday Star Times reported yesterday it could be part of a bigger plan by Cullen Investments' owner, Eric Watson, to begin an expansion phase.

The paper reported that Mr Watson is also believed to be in talks regarding the purchase of New Zealand department store chain, Farmers, owned by Perth-based retailer Foodland Associated (NZSE: FAL).

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