Chinese investor Guo Guangchang has boosted his stake in listed Hong Kong department store operator Intime Retail, fuelling speculation he may be planning a takeover bid.
Shares rose sharply on Thursday and Friday of last week as shareholders envisaged – at the very least – a closer working relationship between Intime Retail and other retail and apparel businesses that Guo’s Fosun International holds a stake in.
Fosun has interests already in fashion brands including Caruso from Italy, Folli Follie from Greece and St John’s from the US.
Based in Beijing, Intime Retail Group runs a department store chain, retailing such consumer products as apparel, cosmetics, jewellery, footwear, luggage, athletic wear, home furnishings, electronics and appliances.
Guo, often referred to as “the Warren Buffett of China”, boosted his Intime Retail holding through a Hong Kong-listed unit of Fosun Group. Founded in Shanghai in 1992, Fosun International has two major business segments: integrated finance and industrial operations.
In a foray into retail early this year, Fosun boosted its stake in the German lifestyle brand Tom Tailor in January, in an arrangement with a private seller. This investment was described as continuing Fosun’s investment model of “combining China’s growth momentum with global resources”.
Earlier the same month, Fosun bought a HK$232.million 5.14 per cent stake in Hong Kong-listed women’s apparel retailer Koradior Holdings, described as an important strategic investment.