Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nordstrom Sells Façonnable to.....Lebanon?

Seattle-based Nordstom (NYSE:JWN) has decided to sell its Façonnable brand to the Lebanese investment firm M1 Group for $210 million. As part of the deal, Nordstrom agrees to sell Façonnable clothing for a further 3 years, and will use the proceeds to focus on its main business, retailing, as opposed to brand-building. Façonnable, a conservative luxury clothier that competes against the likes of Brooks Brothers, was long known to be on the auction block; the acquirer, however, is the surprise here. M1 Group (formerly Investcom) was the first company to IPO on the recently-opened Dubai International Finance Exchange and primarily owns wireless networks in third world countries like Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Afghanistan, Guinea Republic, and Sudan. Wait a minute....REWIND. Sudan? As in Darfur's federal overlord? A third-world cellular operator buying falling-star luxury marque? Something smells fishy here. Upon further inspection, the real owner is Mauritius-based MTN Group, which bought Investcom (and hence M1 Group) last year. MTN Group operates mostly in South Africa, and is also in the cellular business. It's all a tangled mess of ownership from there, involving shady tax shelters in the Virgin Islands. Could this get any weirder?

Anyone have any idea why a cellular business in the third world would want to buy a slightly-lagging shirtmaker? Is this deal really even going to go through?

Article at PSBJ

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Anonymous said...

your information and inspection sucks... m1 group is the majority shareholder in MTN and it owns many other companies as well, including airlines, banks, and many more industries, the brand which is considered to be the channel for men has actually improved a lot since the group acquired the company

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