Jimmy Choo sold for $1.2bn

BY Richard Summerfield

Luxury shoe manufacturer Jimmy Choo Plc has been sold to fashion brand Michael Kors in a deal worth $1.2bn, or $1.35bn including assumed net debt.

According to a statement announcing the deal, Jimmy Choo investors will receive 230 pence, or about $3, for each share held. The price represents a 36.5 percent premium to the company’s share price in April, before the company announced it was putting itself up for sale. The deal is expected to close in Q4 2017.

Though the company has retained many of its celebrity endorsements since it shot to fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it has struggled to retain its status in recent years. Furthermore, JAB Holding, the company which holds a 70 percent stake in Jimmy Choo, having acquired the brand for £500m, is moving out of the luxury fashion market and is exploring dealmaking opportunities in other industries, including the food and beverage sector. Jimmy Choo has only been publicly owned for a little over three years.

John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive of Michael Kors, said, “We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Jimmy Choo, an iconic brand with a rich history as a leading global luxury house. Jimmy Choo is known worldwide for its glamorous and fashion-forward footwear. The company is a leader in setting fashion trends. Its innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship resonate with trendsetters globally. We believe that Jimmy Choo is poised for meaningful growth in the future and our company is committed to supporting the strong brand equity that Jimmy Choo has built over the last 20 years.”

Pierre Denis, chief executive of Jimmy Choo, said, “It is a privilege for our management team to lead Jimmy Choo and to preside over such an exciting period for our company. We are convinced that there is so much more that can be delivered in the years ahead. We look forward to working closely with the leadership and team at Michael Kors Holdings Limited to further develop our iconic brand. Our two companies share the same vision of style and trend leadership. Our luxury heritage is the foundation of Jimmy Choo and we will continue to bring our brand vision to consumers globally.”

News: Michael Kors to buy luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 bln

US business bankruptcies soar in Q2 2017, confirms new report

BY Fraser Tennant

US business bankruptcy activity in 2017 is continuing on an trend upward, with Q2 experiencing a 10 percent increase in filings over Q1 according to new data compiled by BankruptcyData.com.

In ‘Quarterly Report of Business Bankruptcy Filings for the Period Ending June 30, 2017’, the business bankruptcy information provider analyses Q2 and year-to-date (YTD) 2017 business bankruptcy activity and breaks down the filings by various factors, such as industry, sales volume, company size, creditor, liabilities, assets, employees, creditors and public and private filings

Reflecting on a fluctuating bankruptcy landscape, the report notes that the 2017 YTD business bankruptcy filing figure increased by 1 percent compared to the first six months of 2016, but rose 35 percent compared to the first six months of 2015. Small businesses are also shown to be making up the lion's share of all business bankruptcy filings for 2017. Companies with sales of $500,000 or less generated 56 percent of all filings during Q2 and 61 percent YTD.

In addition, although overall bankruptcy activity is rising, public company bankruptcies are down 30 percent so far in 2017; 43 public companies having filed for bankruptcy in the first six months of 2017, compared to 61 over the same period in 2016.

In terms of industry hotspots, despite a lot of attention being paid to the bankruptcy woes of the retail industry in 2017 (more than 300 retailers have filed for Chapter 11 so far this year), it is actually the energy sector that has continued to dominate, with 16 of 43 (37 percent) of public company bankruptcies coming from the oil & gas, mining and other energy sectors. Turning to location hotspots, Texas overtook New York as the state generating the highest percentage of overall business bankruptcies during Q2 2017.

“2017's US Bankruptcy Court business filing activity is shaping up as we expected, with counts at or slightly above the 2016 levels but significantly above 2015 and earlier,” states the BankruptcyData.com report. “The energy sector, though slowing down, is not out of the woods yet. We also expect retail bankruptcy levels to keep increasing as consumers continue to opt for online over brick-and-mortar purchases in this highly competitive sector that is already besieged by liquidity issues, ailing credit ratings, unfavourable borrowing terms and more.”

Against a dramatically changing corporate landscape, US business bankruptcy activity is continuing to escalate; with many more companies likely to be navigating the filing process before 2017 comes to an end.

Report: Quarterly Report of Business Bankruptcy Filings for the Period Ending June 30, 2017

National exercise tests Singapore’s cyber attack resilience

BY Fraser Tennant

Against a backdrop of increasingly frequent, sophisticated and impactful cyber attacks, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has carried out a large multi-sector exercise to test the robustness of the country’s cyber incident management and emergency response plans.

Code-named Cyber Star, the exercise tested 11 critical information infrastructure sectors (CII): government, infocomm, energy, aviation, maritime, land transport, healthcare, banking and finance, water, security and emergency and media.

Comprising of a series of scenario planning sessions, workshops and table-top discussions, exercise participants were tested on their incident management and remediation plans in response to simulated cyber security incidents, such as a malware infection or a large-scale distributed denial of services (DDoS) attack.

The Cyber Star exercise followed a similar exercise in May 2016 which covered the banking and finance, government, energy and infocomm sectors.

"This is a good opportunity for us to level-up our capability and make sure that we are ready as possible," said deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean, who observed the exercise at CSA headquarters alongside more than 200 sector leaders and owners, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Energy Market Authority and Singapore Airlines.

“With greater interconnectivity and proliferation of cyber threats, the ability of our critical sectors to respond promptly to attacks is vital,” said David Koh, chief executive of the CSA.

The exercise this week also coincides with a public consultation on a proposed Cybersecurity Bill, which was launched last week by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the CSA. The proposed Bill seeks to establish a framework for the oversight and maintenance of national cyber security in Singapore and will empower CSA to carry out its functions. The Bill also aims to minimise cyber threats and ensure that the country can better deal with cyber attacks in future.

The Bill has four main objectives: (i) to provide a framework for the regulation of CII owners; (ii) to provide the CSA with powers to manage and respond to cyber security threats and incidents; (iii) to establish a framework for the sharing of cyber security information with and by CSA officers, and the protection of such information; and (iv) to introduce a lighter-touch licensing framework for the regulation of selected cyber security service providers.

The Cybersecurity Bill consultation runs from 10 July to 3 August 2017.

News: Singapore’s 11 critical sectors tested for first time in national cyber security exercise

Activism the new normal – report

BY Richard Summerfield

Shareholder activism is increasingly widespread. No longer just a niche tactic employed by a small number of hedge funds, it is becoming more mainstream, according to a new report from J.P. Morgan Chase on the 2017 proxy season.

The report, ‘The 2017 Proxy Season – globalization and a new normal for shareholder activism’, notes that while the 2017 proxy season began slowly, it ended with a number of high-profile, mega-cap campaign announcements. Yet, surprisingly, the number of activist campaigns recorded during the proxy season was flat. According to the report, this paucity of activity is not indicative of a decline in the popularity of activism but rather demonstrates activism's metamorphosis into a more commonly accepted practice.

“Investors around the globe continue to use activist tactics to bring about change,” the report notes. “As a result, shareholder activism has become an accepted strategy across global markets, even in regions once believed to be hostile or structurally difficult for campaigns. After several years of growth, global activist campaign volume dipped by 6 percent in 2017, with nearly every region experiencing a modest decline in new campaigns, year-over-year. The US market, in particular, seemed to settle into a ‘new normal’ of campaign volume, accounting for 54 percent of global volume, as the strategy gains footing in international markets.”

Globally, there were 606 activist campaigns in the year to 30 June. The US saw the lion’s share of activity, with 327 campaigns. Of those, 68 proxy contests were launched during the 2017 season, 54 of which had been completed by 30 June.

Nineteen percent of campaigns in the US were launched by first time activists and nearly two-thirds of all 2017 US campaigns targeted companies with market caps below $500m. Smaller funds were most active during the 2017 proxy season, focusing on smaller-cap companies.

The report also claimed that institutional investors are increasingly turning to activism. As activism has matured as a strategy, traditional long-only funds have begun to embrace it. Actively managed funds displayed a willingness to publicly support activist campaigns and also partnered with activists to target one of their portfolio companies.

M&A focused activism has also become prevalent in recent years. Five hundred M&A-related campaign demands were made by activists globally during the 2016 and 2017 proxy seasons, which accounted for approximately 75 percent of total value demands for that period.

Report: The 2017 Proxy Season – globalization and a new normal for shareholder activism

More money, more problems

BY Richard Summerfield

Barely a week goes by without a major cyber attack making global headlines. Indeed, in recent weeks, the ‘WannaCry’ and ‘Petya’ ransomware attacks have caused chaos across a spectrum of organisations the world over. And, although many companies are beginning to respond to the threat, often the response is misguided, according to a new report from KPMG and BT.

The report, 'Securing the digital enterprise: The cyber security journey – from denial to opportunity', notes that too many companies are treating cyber security as a siloed issue, which can be dealt with simply by “throwing money” at the problem. While companies must ensure they have, for example, adequate and updated firewalls and antivirus protection, it is equally as important to pool shared resources and treat cyber security as a conventional operational risk issue. This requires greater ‘buy-in’ on cyber issues from the board and a better integration of cyber issues into overall business strategy.

David Ferbrache, Technical Director in KPMG’s cyber security practice, said: “The recent spate of cyber-attacks is keeping cyber risk at the top of the business agenda, and as such investments are being made. The business community needs to avoid knee-jerk reactions as cyber security is a journey – not a one size fits all issue, and getting the basics like patching and back-ups right matters. It’s important to build a security culture, raise awareness amongst staff, and remember that security needs to enable business, not prevent it.”

There must be a better acknowledgement, at board level, of the threat posed by cyber attacks. As such, organisations must have the right security provisions in place. These include, companies making sure they know where they are on their journey to cyber security, which, according to the report, involves five key stages: denial, worry, false confidence, hard lessons and true leadership.

Mark Hughes, CEO of BT Security, said: “The global scale of the recent ransomware attacks showed the astonishing speed at which even the most unsophisticated of attacks can spread around the world. Many organisations could have avoided these attacks by maintaining better standards of cyber hygiene and getting the basics right. These global incidents remind us that every business today - from the smallest sole trader through to SMEs and large multinational corporations - needs to get to grips with managing the security of their IT estate, as well as their people and processes.”

Report: Securing the digital enterprise - The cyber security journey – from denial to opportunity

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