Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Takeover rumours swirl around Forzani, Forzani denies everything

Globe and Mail: Forzani wants to be hunter, not hunted
Forzani Group Ltd. is more interested in making acquisitions than parrying bids from potential buyers, chief executive officer Robert Sartor says.
The company has had inquiries but isn't interested in selling, he said in an interview yesterday after the annual shareholders' meeting. “It's a big ocean out there and we're a fish in it. Some are eyeing us and we are eyeing others.”
Shares in Forzani, Canada's largest sporting goods retailer, soared to near-record levels over the past week on rumours it could be a target for private equity interests. The firm confirmed last week it has been approached about a possible takeover or business partnership, but did not identify who made the inquiries, and said it has received no formal offers.
“An inquiry is not an expression of interest; it's to find out if you have nothing better to do,” Mr. Sartor said in the interview. “We still have a lot on our plate, and we have a business to run.”

Given that it is not at all unusual for executives to flat out lie about the state of merger inquires (I'm looking at you, Bell Canada!) I am going to put my money on it having been Opposite Day when Bob Sartor was asked to comment.

Founder John Forzani has stepped back from controlling his baby, their banners are doing great, and to a foreign retailer or Private Equity company, they represent a strong brand, great results, and more importantly, a key strategic toehold into the Canadian retail marketplace. Why wouldn't they be a prime aquisition target? I think a deal will be announced before the end of June.

There, I said it.

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