David Jones Ltd, Australia's second-largest and oldest department store operator, today said that it has received a A$1.65 billion ($1.68 billion) takeover offer from an unknown UK-based firm, EB Private Equity.
Mystery surrounds this unknown entity, which describes itself on its website as a Luxembourg and UK property developer and private equity firm.
David Jones first informed the Australian Securities Exchange that it received an offer from a mystery bidder, but later announced the bid today after a UK-based blog site called newcastleetcfinanceblog reported that the mystery bidder was EB Private Equity.
''Further to our announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange earlier today we note that a UK blog site has released the name of EB Private Equity as the party that has made an approach to David Jones Limited to acquire the company,'' David Jones said.
The blog described EB Private Equity was leading a group that includes some of Australia's largest real estate funds. It also named Jones Lang LaSalle and Chalkhill Partners, as advisers to the deal.
But Stewart Booth, CEO of London-based Chalkhill Partners told the Financial Times that it is not involved in the transaction, while Adrian Peachey, the UK head of retail investment at Jones Lang LaSalle, told local media in Australia that he also had no clue about the bid.