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Wed 31 Oct 2007 12:21 PM

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Dubai may bid for US luxury department store

State-owned Landmark and Icelandic investor Baugur Group eyeing offer for Saks.

Dubai may bid for US luxury department store
Saks has been overhauling its business and renovating stores after shedding its mid-tier chains in 2005 and 2006. (Getty Images)

Dubai-owned Landmark Group and Icelandic investor Baugur Group could make a joint bid for luxury department store Saks, Baugur said on Monday, sending shares of Saks up nearly 9% after hours.

Baugur, owner of Britain's House of Fraser, said in a filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission that it intended to hold discussions with Saks' management and board regarding a possible acquisition, and to discuss possible financing.

Saks did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Baugur, which is controlled by Jon Asgeir Johannesson and owns or has built up stakes in a host of British retailers and other companies, has the right to acquire more than 12 million shares of Saks, or 8.5% of its common stock.

Landmark, which owns hypermarkets in India, owns 1.66 million shares, or about 1.2% of Saks' common stock, according to the filing.

Saks, which operates Saks Fifth Avenue, Off 5th and Club Libby Lu stores, has been overhauling its business and renovating stores after shedding its mid-tier chains in 2005 and 2006.

Takeover speculation first emerged in the media two weeks ago and Saks shares have risen nearly 14% since October 1.

In extended trade on Monday, the stock rose 8.6% to $21.50 after closing up 52 cents at $19.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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