Gant chairman seeks allies in ‘David versus Goliath’ battle

The chairman of the board of Swedish fashion firm Gant, Lennart Björk, has put out an appeal for allies in the battle for control over the company.

Gant’s founders and master franchise owners are fighting what Björk describes as a “David versus Goliath” battle to defend their 55 percent shareholding following a hostile bid last month from Swiss department store owner Maus Frères.

Maus Frères currently controls 25.8 percent of the shares but is angling for enough shares to take it over the 50 percent mark.

Lennart Björk is concerned that shares in the company could take a major hit if a stalemate emerges between the two blocks when the Swiss company’s bid expires on Friday.

It is for this reason that Björk has begun scouting for investors that could help strengthen the position of his “gang of musketeers” ahead of discussions about the future of Gant.

Björk said however that he would not entirely rule out future cooperation with Maus Frères, whose bid for Gant is worth 310 kronor per share.

“We are saying no to this bid because it is far too low. This gives rise to a negotiation scenario, which also concerns ‘the mouse brothers’ who will probably be interested in having a bit of a chat.”

But Maus Frères CEO Guy Latourette is convinced that his company will be able to secure a majority shareholding in Gant.

“I know for sure that they won’t get a majority. They may get 30-35 percent but that’s a serious minority,” he said.