01 September 1998

GREAT UNIVERSAL STORES is considering legal action against the former directors of Argos, the high street catalogue retailer for which it made a successful hostile bid earlier this year. Chairman Lord Wolfson is fulminating over trading claims made by the Argos board as it struggled to fend-off the bid. Meantime, the former Argos directors, including ex-chief executive Stuart Rose, are defiant. According to their spokesman: 'If they [GUS] choose to take legal action it will be vigorously defended and we are absolutely confident that the statements complied with the Takeover Code.' [Does Debrief detect a tad of arse-covering in GUS’ stance? Lord Wolfson and his cohorts are not innocents at large in the big, bad world of commerce. They know full well that in hostile bid situations, defence forecasting is inevitably over-rouged with optimism. Perhaps GUS might be better employed in questioning the efficacy of its due diligence process?]