TO THE esteemed list of creative endeavours that brought the likes of Ern Malley, Helen Demidenko, Norma Khouri and the Hitler Diaries to prominence, it’s perhaps time to add the name John Edgar.
News that a takeover offer of Australia’s upmarket retailer David Jones bore greater resemblance to Milli Vanilli than Veuve Cliquot, has been rightly greeted with derision. Clearly, there is no other takeover like David Jones.
And while it might be worth a chuckle that the high financier is located between a wig shop and a noodle shop in Newcastle, England, plenty of investors stand to lose money out of Friday’s and Monday’s share market shenanigans.
In reality, this goes to the heart of the corporate regulator’s continuous disclosure and market integrity.
DJs felt obliged to disclose the offer it had received, particularly once it established that the offer had been referred to in an obscure online blog.
Those buying into Friday’s share market surge may have been warned by DJs to treat the offer with caution but the question remains if there was an informed market on Friday and again yesterday morning before DJs was belatedly placed into a trading halt.
ASIC has little choice but to examine every trade conducted in the lead-up to the announcement of DJs disclosure that it had received an offer from EB Private Equity, particularly now given the offer’s spectacular collapse.
While market integrity and certainty are important aspects of an informed market, there’s arguably a whiff around Friday’s shenanigans, given it was the last trading day of the financial year.
Funds managers holding DJs stock were boosted by a 20 per cent share price jump. Short sellers targeting the struggling retailer were squeezed. And it all came crashing down yesterday.
What was the ASX doing on Friday that it didn’t order a trading halt? The ASX profits from every trade made on the market. What was the corporate plod doing on Friday? Why didn’t it order a trading halt while DJs asked some questions? If this was a hoax, or a well- planned rumour aimed at a quick profit, the perpetrators may have sweaty palms. There’s been too much publicity for the corporate plod to ignore it.
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