According to reports in Monday's Financial Times and The Guardian, Marks & Spencer's new chief executive Stuart Rose bought one hundred thousand shares in the company five days before his close acquaintance, the corporate raider Philip Green, told him in confidence he was planning a bid for Britain's largest high street retailer.
Rose's bargain buy (at less than £3.00 per share, a tad above their twelve-month nadir) was executed just two weeks prior to the announcement of his M&S appointment, when in the doldrums of the June holiday weekend he supplanted incumbent Roger Holmes [WAMN: 01-Jun-04].
Explains Rose: "I have been a shareholder in Marks and Spencer for a number of years. I have not traded any M&S shares since becoming aware of Green's intentions on May 12." As at close of business Monday, M&S stock stood at £3.55.
Meantime, analysts and media observers regard with awe the impregnability of the Chinese Walls erected around Rose and Green -- whose relationship is described by the Financial Times as "close and long-standing".
• Separately, Green is trying to re-energize his faltering bid by romancing stateside investors in the hope of gaining support for his £8.3 billion ($15.16bn; €12.62bn) offer.
At least one US fund manager, Brandes Investment Partners of San Diego, has fluttered its eyelashes in response to Green's overtures. With an 11.96% stake in the retailer, BIP is M&S's largest shareholder and specializes in investing in underperforming stock.
Data sourced from: Financial Times and MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff