Australian retailer Coles Group, the subject of a takeover offer by diversified conglomerate Wesfarmers, has released details of a report from financial experts Grant Samuel & Associates, which backs the company’s decision to accept the bid.


Coles chairman Rick Allert said the report would be released once it and the Scheme Booklet, outlining the bid, had been reviewed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) and approved by the Supreme Court. He expects the booklet to be sent to shareholders in approximately four weeks’ time.


In the meantime, Coles published key points from the Grant Samuel report. The retailer said Grant Samuel had concluded that the Wesfarmers proposal is in the best interests of shareholders.


Even though Grant Samuel’s valuation of Coles at A$16.21-$18.23 per share was considerably higher than the Wesfarmers’ cash and equity offer valuation of around A$14.87 to A$15.44 per share, the expert nevertheless said the bid was in the best interests of the retailer’s shareholders, in the absence of a better offer. Grant Samuel said that continued ownership uncertainty was likely to be damaging for the company.


Based on latest share prices, the Wesfarmers offer is worth around A$15.13 a share, or A$18.1bn (US$15.2bn).


The Coles board confirmed once more that it planned to recommend unanimously the Wesfarmers’ proposal to shareholders at a scheme meeting in November, in the absence of a superior offer.