David Jones Takeover Bidder Unmasked
Australia’s oldest department store, David Jones, is shrouded in mystery.
A surprise takeover bid of $1.65 billion was reportedly announced last Friday, but those firms who advise the supposed bidder, a UK and Luxembourg-based real estate investment fund and private equity group called EB Private Equity, denied the company’s involvement in a deal with the ailing retailer.
“We have never heard of EB Private Equity and are not involved,” said the chief executive of Chalkhill Partners, Stewart Booth, to Deal Journal Australia. Chalkhill Partners, in addition to Lang LaSalle, were said to be advising EB Private Equity (a claim they have both denied.)
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The bidder was unmasked today as being John Edgar, a serial investor in various companies that no media outlet has so far confirmed as being actual businesses in current operation. Mr Edgar, the supposed EB Private Equity chairman, has said he plans to phone David Jones Chairman Bob Savage this week about the retail property’s assets.
According to the Financial Times, David Jones released details of a potential takeover in response to rumours about a bid circulating around the market. The 174-year-old department store posted share prices near an eight-year low before Friday’s announcement, citing customers’ preference to shop online and a 40 per cent profit plummet prediction for the financial year as reasons for their continued demise.
However, prices reportedly rose by 14.6 per cent to AU$2.59 by the market’s close.
In response to the takeover offer, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is expected to launch an investigation.
“Many could have benefited in a variety of ways from such a timely, even if short-lived, market rally, especially funds managers looking to meet annual targets,” wrote a blogger for The Australian. “No doubt the Australian Securities & Investments Commission will examine the details of this particular episode.”
Digital Leader Mobiquity Expands Into Asia-Pacific
As an international digital consulting firm, Mobiquity helps a global client base upgrade its digital banking and financial services. The company employs 1,200 team members across 50+ nationalities and serves an estimated 200+ million users each day. Recently, the company built out a digital banking experience for the Bank of the Philippines Islands’ online and mobile platforms—exemplifying its mission to help leading brands engage with technology in meaningful ways.
To highlight Mobiquity’s services, here are a few of the company’s recent accomplishments:
- Designed and developed the first FDA-approved digital medicine system
- Launched a five-star mobile ordering app
- Pioneered a cloud-based IT infrastructure that prevented bank fraud
- Built the official AWS re:Invent 2017 and 2018 mobile apps
What Makes Mobiquity Stand Out?
According to Mobiquity, it's the people that make all the difference. ‘We’re born innovators who like meaty challenges’, the company wrote. ‘We go deeper, getting to the root of your customers’ friction and creating personalised engagements that deliver much more than a digital experience alone’. Now, the company has added former Microsoft and IBM director Gustavo Quiroga to its team.
Who Is Gustavo Quiroga?
At Mobiquity, he’ll be the first Vice President of Business Development Financial Services in APAC. With years of experience in the industry, Quiroga has developed numerous tech, business, and customer experience projects: at Microsoft, he led a top Aussie Azure Data and AI specialist team, and at IBM, he applied AI and deep analytics to transform the company’s business processes, CX, and UX.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Quiroga will start to work with Mobiquity clients in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines and take responsibility for expanding the company’s regional operations. ‘Our best way to impact client outcomes’, he wrote, ‘is by listening to them with an inquisitive and open mind and empowering our people to do the same’.
When notified of the announcement, Quiroga expressed excitement over his new role. ‘I’m delighted to join Mobiquity and support the company’s rapid expansion across the Asia-Pacific region. I joined Mobiquity to develop, design and implement digital products and services that create meaningful experiences with customers...and I look forward to using my expertise to develop partnerships where we can achieve this every day’.
Where Does Mobiquity Go From Here?
In the past six months, Mobiquity has hired over 100 new employees, including the high-profile additions of Howard Moore, Senior Director of Banking, and Ruby Walia, Senior Advisor for Digital Banking. This falls in line with the company’s hyper-growth strategy to deliver digital products to the world.
As Matthew Williamson, Mobiquity’s Vice President of Global Financial Services, explained: ‘Our appointment of Gustavo demonstrates [our] commitment to hiring an A-list team of talent. The latest addition to the Mobiquity team supports our vision of global growth in Asia-Pacific, as a recognised partner within the banking and finance ecosystem’.