Massmart shareholders vote for Walmart deal

2011-01-17 13:46

Massmart shareholders today voted in favour of global retailer Walmart’s offer to acquire 51% of the local business, the local company said.

“At a special meeting held at Massmart’s offices in Johannesburg, 97.67% of shareholders present and entitled to vote voted in favour of the deal, more than the 75% that was required,” Massmart said.

Shareholders voted to accept Walmart’s bid to acquire 51% of Massmart for R148 a share in a deal worth around R17?billion.

Massmart warned there were still important conditions that needed to be fulfilled before the deal could be implemented, including approval from South African courts and competition authorities.

“This is an important milestone and we now await the decision from the competition authorities,” said Massmart chief executive Grant Pattison.

The Competition Commission was expected to make its recommendation to the Competition Tribunal some time in January.

“While the timing of the tribunal hearing is largely dependent on the availability of a suitable date on the tribunal’s roll, Massmart is hopeful that this can be achieved during February this year.”

Members of the Anti-Walmart Coalition had planned to picket outside the Massmart officers in Sunninghill while the shareholders’ meeting took place.

They called off the demonstration at the last minute.

“The demonstration didn’t take place as the company threatened disciplinary action as a dispute had not been declared,” SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) spokesperson Mike Abrahams said.

However, members of the Anti-Walmart Coalition attended the meeting.

“They are inside to present our case,” Abrahams said just before 11.30am.

The Anti-Walmart Coalition includes various trade unions, including Saccawu, labour federation Cosatu and civil society organisations.

It opposed the Walmart/Massmart deal because of the negative consequences it saw for Massmart workers, the wholesale and retail sector and its supply chains.

“We hope to show how this deal is not in the interests of the country and the national imperatives of transformation, economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation,” the coalition said yesterday.?

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