Outdoor goods specialist Blacks was at the centre of the week’s retail share price action after revealing approaches from potential buyers.
Blacks has been in a similar situation before, but the appointment of McQueen as adviser this time indicates more serious prospects that a sale will be achieved.
The identity of would-be buyers is unknown, but private equity owners of outdoors retailers such as Cotswold are likely to be among them. Sports Direct, which controls 14% of Blacks and has previously attempted to wrest control of its competitor, may also make a move.
Sports Direct and arch-rival JJB are no longer under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, although the authorities are still investigating certain individuals over cartel concerns.
Sports Direct updated on second-quarter trading. Investec retained its sell stance. The shares had a “fantastic run” in the past quarter, the broker said, but full-year earnings guidance remains unchanged. “We continue to believe that on a peer group comparative basis the shares are over-valued,” Investec said.
First-half profits at Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group fell, but were in line with expectations. Arden said that management comment accompanying the results was “defiant”, highlighting strengths such as multichannel and good cost control, but concluded: “We would look to take profits after the recent rally.”
Singer, recommending sell, feared that the Government spending review detailed on Wednesday would put Argos customers under even more financial pressure.
Comet-owner Kesa’s shares surged on the back of gossip that Best Buy was considering a bid. It was an unlikely scenario, given the difference in the pair’s business models. UBS downgraded Kesa from buy to neutral on valuation grounds and said: “Kesa is now fairly valued given the risk-reward of a potential bigger-ticket item slowdown across a number of Kesa’s markets and the - in our view, limited - potential for a takeout in the next 12 months.”
Russian retailer O’Key is to be listed in London after the issue of global depository receipts priced between $9.90 (£6.23) and $12.90 (£8.12). Chief executive Patrick Longuet said: “The IPO is an
important step as it will provide a strong platform for the continued profitable growth of our business throughout Russia.”
After Wednesday’s spending review, investors will have the chance to quiz Carpetright about the likely effect on big-ticket sales. The retailer issues a pre-close update next Wednesday.