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Report: Burberry Rejects Coach Takeover Approach

The British luxury goods firm turned down a number of informal takeover approaches from Coach, according to a report on Sunday.
Burberry trenchcoats | Source: Burberry
By
  • Limei Hoang

LONDON, United Kingdom — British luxury goods maker Burberry turned down a number of takeover approaches from American fashion giant Coach, according to a report by The Financial Times.

Talks between the two companies, which would have created a firm with a market value above $20 billion, are believed to have occurred during the summer, but Burberry is reported to have firmly declined the interest from Coach.

Both Burberry and Coach declined to comment for this story.

Coach had approached Burberry in an informal way, proposing a “cash-and-stock” takeover of the British company, however the report said it was unclear what the proposed terms from Coach were or if Burberry had taken the talks seriously.

When rumours of a Burberry-Coach merger first emerged in October, via the financial blog Betaville, Burberry Group Plc shares rose as much as 4.8 percent.

Coach had been working with financial advisers at Evercore for several weeks on a possible deal, the website said. Earlier this year, the Financial Times reported that Burberry asked its advisers at Robey Warshaw to help prepare a defence for a possible bid.

In the opinion of Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, however, a merger would not benefit either brand. "A merger of Coach and Burberry would primarily be a merger of problems," he told BoF in October when the rumours first emerged.

"M&A history in luxury has shown that mergers don't obviously help in regaining brand traction and desirability, while cost efficiency in the face of declining brand momentum are often just a way to run in order to stand still."

The report comes at a time when Burberry has been hit by wider industry challenges, including a slowdown in luxury demand from Asian shoppers. Adjusted pre-tax profit fell 4 percent to £146 million ($182 million) in the six months through September, the company said in a statement last month. Analysts had expected £145.3 million. The drop was 24 percent excluding currency shifts.

Burberry's chief creative and creative executive officer Christopher Baileywill give up the latter title early next year, when Marco Gobbetti, currently chief executive officer of Céline, joins the company. Bailey will continue to oversee the company as president, a newly-created role.

Coach recently reiterated that it expects revenue to increase by a low to mid-single digit percentage in the year through June, maintaining a forecast it gave in August, after it reported sales in its fiscal first quarter rose 0.7 percent to $1.04 billion, which many saw as a positive sign that its turnaround plan is making progress, thanks to its chief executive Victor Luis.

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The State of Fashion: Technology