Warehouse founder wants to buy all Red Sheds

The man who founded The Warehouse has made a dramatic move to buy it out.

Shares in the country's largest listed retailer were halted suddenly this afternoon on the New Zealand Stock Exchange ahead of the news.

Mr Tindall who founded The Warehouse with its distinctive and, at times, controversial Red Sheds in 1982, has a controlling stake in the company which recent figures show has sales of $1.91 billion, down from $2.2 billion from the previous year.

The private company was floated on the stock exhange in 1994.

But this afternoon Mr Tindall, who was worth $412 million in the 2006 NBR Rich List, announced he wanted buy out the other shareholders in the company.

He has offered $5.75 a share, valuing The Warehouse at around $1.8 billion.

The Warehouse employs 9000 people and has 85 Red Sheds and 43 Warehouse Stationery stores.

In a statement, Mr Tindall said: "Our strategy is based on our belief that The Warehouse can grow in new directions but we accept that this requires a significant investment and that it carries real risk.

"We are convinced that this will be best achieved in a private company environment and have resolved to provide the other current public shareholders with a substantial premium for their shares in the company."

The Stephen Tindall Consortium, aventure between Mr Tindall and financial partners Pacific Equity Partners, intends to submit a formal proposal to the board in the next few weeks.

The strategy involved significant investment in The Warehouse and a broadened offering, which would benefit consumers but also carried significant investor risk, he said.

The offer price of $5.75 per share was a premium of 22 per cent over the average broker valuation of $4.70 per share, and a multiple of 12.4 times The Warehouse's earnings before interest, tax and amortisation for 2006.

Mr Tindall has a retail pedigree. Before he founded The Warehouse he worked for 12 years with retailer George Court and Sons in a variety of roles, including merchandise manager.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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