May 17, 2019
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IC Group founder offers to take company private

May 17, 2019

Just a few days after Denmark's IC Group reported continuing sluggish results, the owner of By Malene Birger and Tiger of Sweden looks set to be taken private by its majority shareholder.

By Malene Birger

The company said late on Thursday that Friheden Invest A/S, which had owned a 66% stake, has already increased its shareholding in the group and now controls 75.6% of the total number of shares issued and voting rights.

That came as another shareholder, Nordea Funds Ltd, cut its holding of just over 1.4 million shares to zero.

IC also said Friheden has “decided to submit a public, unconditional offer to the shareholders in which they offer to buy all shares in IC Group at DKK39 in cash per share with a nominal value of DKK10 each.”

That’s considerably cheaper than they were trading at only last autumn, so the big question is whether enough shareholders will be prepared to sell. If they do, it would likely be due to lack of confidence in the firm’s ability to mount a share value-enhancing turnaround. 

In mid-September, the shares had reached a high of DKK175.60, before plunging by more than half a few days later, then beginning a steady decline that saw them trading at DKK38.40 after the results were released on Wednesday. That valued the entire firm at around DKK583 million (€78 million).

Friheden Invest A/S is ultimately wholly-owned by Niels Martinsen and Emilie Martinsen-Kønigsfeldt with Niels Martinsen having founded IC Group in 1969 when it was known as InWear.

The move echoes that of other international takeovers where a company that has been struggling opts to continue its turnaround unconstrained by the obligations that come with being a publicly-listed entity.

IC Group has been selling brands in recent years with profitable Peak Performance sold to Amer Sports only last year. It has also sold InWear, Matinique, Part Two, Saint Tropez, Designers Remix, Jackpot and Cottonfield.

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