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Ted Baker - new offers received

Ted Baker - new offers received

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No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal. All investments can fall as well as rise in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Ted Baker Ordinary 5p

Sell: 72.90 | Buy: 73.20 | Change -1.70 (-2.25%)
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Ted Baker received a number of non-binding offers from potential buyers at the end of April. Following due diligence processes, the group has since received updated proposals.

The Board has now chosen a counterparty to oversee ''confirmatory'' due diligence, and this process is expected to take a few weeks.

No further detail has been released and Ted Baker reiterated there's no certainty a deal will take place.

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Our view

Ted's decision to turn down Sycamore's previous advances represented a nod of confidence in the future. But ultimately, everything has a price, and with multiple suitors in the wings the doors have been opened to anyone willing to make a serious offer to buy the group.

Reassuringly for investors though, it remains clear that management is in no rush to sell the business unless it represents significant value for shareholders. With that in mind, we think it's important to remain focused on the group's wider business case.

After a few difficult years Ted Baker's clawing its way back towards profitability.

A part of achieving that is reducing the amount of discounting. Full price sales are now making up a larger part of the whole, which is not only good news for margins but helps protect the brand. We're also encouraged by the improved inventory management - an area the group's previously struggled with. Keeping a firm grip on stock levels ultimately helps avoid unwanted knocks to profit.

Gargantuan cost saving efforts, the sale and lease back of its head office and the issuing of new shares, means the balance sheet is in much better condition than before too. Ted's also flush with £3m of net cash.

We are genuinely pleased with progress and have fewer immediate concerns about Ted's health. But there are lingering challenges that shouldn't be ignored.

Ted's online presence isn't where it needs to be. It's crucial we see digital activity making up a bigger part of the picture sooner rather than later. Online sales have been affected by the decision to keep prices up, which is the right move in our view. But if the group can't keep inflating the amount of full price items it sells online, it calls the wider appeal of Ted Baker's brand into question. Not to mention the cost of living squeeze that Ted's customers are experiencing means they could start to shop around for lower-priced alternatives.

Digital expansion is in the spotlight because high street footfall is in structural decline. Ted is highly exposed to city centre and department store locations, which are being especially badly hit. Pre-pandemic, 50% of Ted's sales came from city centres.

The longer-term plan is to reduce the group's physical footprint, open new stores in key developing markets like Greater China and the Middle East and focus on a hybrid online/in store approach to selling.

With weddings back on social calendars and offices reopening, headier growth isn't out of the question. Ted's close to having all the pieces needed to complete its turnaround--but it remains to be seen whether they will fit together seamlessly.

If the group's able to pull off this strategy shift, the shares could rerate in their favour. But there's a lot of execution risk ahead. If Ted has to revert back to sale stickers to drive customers to its website, it'll be back to square one. This is becoming more of a concern given the potential for consumers to rein in spending so we'll need more proof the strategy will be successful before turning more positive. It's also worth remembering that while markets have reacted positively to recent talk of a takeover, if nothing concrete comes of it that reaction could reverse although there are no guarantees.

Ted Baker key facts

  • Forward price/sales ratio: 0.45
  • Ten year average forward price/sales ratio: 1.3
  • Prospective dividend yield (next 12 months): 0%

All ratios are sourced from Refinitiv. Please remember yields are variable and not a reliable indicator of future income. Keep in mind key figures shouldn't be looked at on their own - it's important to understand the big picture.

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Acquisition update (4 April 2022)

Having previously rejected two acquisition offers from Sycamore Partners Management L.P. a new and improved offer has been received. The group has also been contacted by other parties interested in buying Ted Baker.

The group has now officially invited interested parties to make an offer, hoping to establish whether any are prepared to "to offer a value that the Board considers attractive relative to the standalone prospects of Ted Baker".

Fourth Quarter Results (28 March 2022)

Ted Baker has received, and turned down, two acquisition offers from Sycamore Partners Management L.P.

Sycamore first offered 130p per share on 18 March. After it was rejected the group upped its bid to 137.5p per share, which was also vetoed.

Management said the offers failed to compensate shareholders for future potential saying, ''The management actions taken over the last two years have put the business on a firm footing and it is now well on the way to recovery following a turbulent period.''

Fourth quarter comparable sales rose 35% compared to last year. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, sales were 10% lower until Omicron uncertainty hit, at which point sales were running 42% behind. Sales are also being held back by the decision to limit discounts, to help protect the brand.

Full price sales are growing as a portion of overall sales and the group's on track to meet the financial targets for 2023, laid out in 2020.

For the final quarter, Retail sales were 29.5% behind pre-pandemic levels, with stores down 43.2% and online down 0.9%. Compared to last year, store sales are up over 90%, online's up 2.1%, Wholesale and Licence are up 27.8% and 52.5% respectively.

The group also mentioned that Retail sales growth rates were affected by seven percentage points due to change in operating model relating to the Japanese and Chinese business moving from Retail to Licence and joint venture, and from House of Fraser moving to Wholesale.

The reduction in discounting lowered sales, but has improved trading profit margins. Ted Baker reiterated it will continue to focus on improving full price sales as part of its strategy.

The Group has signed a new franchise agreement in the UK, with plans for at least three new store locations per year over the next three years.

There was strong inventory and stock control in the year and the group expects to report year end net cash of £3m, in line with upgraded guidance.

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This article is original Hargreaves Lansdown content, published by Hargreaves Lansdown. Unless otherwise stated estimates, including prospective yields, are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Refinitiv. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Yields are variable and not guaranteed. Investments rise and fall in value so investors could make a loss.

This article is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment. No view is given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment. This article has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication. Non-independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research, however HL has put controls in place (including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers) to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing. Please see our full non-independent research for more information.